wIngredients Required To Make Lockdown Lemonade
Bag Of Lemons (can Include: Health, Relationships, Finances, Death, Loss, Injury, etc)
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.
In the blink of an eye, my plans I thought were set in stone, felt ripped out from under. Any stability I secured suddenly, vanished. It was February 1, 2020. After a three month adventure living on the Big Island of Hawaii, I’d bid aloha and was en route to returning to life in Boulder, Colorado. To set myself up for success, I accepted a salaried job and verbally committed to sublet a furnished apartment. In fact, both seemed to fall into place, with ease. I trusted the Universe had my back and everything was in motion.
Before arriving in CO, I stopped in San Diego for a week to visit family. It felt like I was in-between stories. A little breathing room before launching into a new chapter. But, before I could settle into a groove, my phone rang with game changing news. The company who’d 10 days prior offered me a job, eliminated my position. Then, the housing, no longer an option. 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!”. Devastated, I began to question…everything.
Why would life line up only to fall apart? Once hopeful, I was now, heartbroken. What did I do wrong? How could ‘they’ do this to me? My responsible decisions felt like a joke.
However, this was not my first rodeo. I’d been thrown into uncertainty enough times to know the rough waters were temporary. Now I had to ride the waves of anger and frustration while keeping my head above water. I had to trust all over again and not give into victimization even though it felt like the odds were stacked against me. However, when you’re smack dab in the eye of a storm, it’s impossible to see the silver lining.
This is the part of the journey I saw “the Universe is testing me”. Knowing somehow everything would work out, I also knew had to trust with everything I had and truly…believe.
“Rejection is Redirection, Rejection IS Redirection”
Despite struggling with self-confidence, now back in Colorado I continued “trying” to find a job and a place to call home. Though I’d made a promise to myself not to return to my old profession as a Travel Nurse Recruiter, a former nurse I worked with “randomly” reached asking if I’d be interested to interview with her company for a remote position. Explaining my situation and the synchronicity of her timing, I said yes to the opportunity. Breaking my promise to myself, I now promised the Universe I’d accept an offer. I mean, I had to get to work. However, a week after my (stellar) interview, the company decided to freeze their hiring. What was happening? Again hurt by the tease of stability, I whispered to myself, you’re going to be OK. Rejection is redirection.
Back to square one, I was 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 a job! I missed the ocean breeze, humidity, tan skin, even my wild curly hair! Though happy to reconnect with friends, I wasn’t happy with a foot of fresh snow. But, what could I do? Where would I go? Instead of exploring new cities and ideas of leaving, 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 I’d continue to resent my losses, unless I changed my attitude. So, I shifted my perspective and began making the best of the unknown. The more I leaned into uncertainty, the more opportunities showed up! From a long term pet sitting gig to generous invitations in friends’s guest rooms, I always had a safe space to rest my head. I even got a free car! A good friend traveling to Indonesia even offered me her car for the month as it helped her have a place to store it! Talk about a win-win! Despite the Universe’s sassiness, she kept offering reassuring hugs and heartfelt high fives. Despite the big picture, life felt in flow.
The more I showing up for myself, the more life showed up, for me! The exchanges of energy ranged from babysitting and walking dogs to helping organize a friend’s basement. All for cozy company! Some days I’d wake with a huge smile trusting the yellow brick road. Other sleepless nights I lay awake, riddled with anxiety from the nightmare of not knowing my what next. The “stuck in a funk” days were the toughest to shift my energy. My usual solution was: action. I’d strap on sneakers and go for a walk. One afternoon, while strolling along the Boulder Creek, it hit me, hard. Everything I was “doing”… was not working. In fact, It didn’t feel like it was meant to work! It felt like a lot of trying to prove vs acknowledging my heart. In the moment of sudden clarity I stopped in my tracks. I gave myself permission to say to myself: I’m not happy here. I want to live by the water. My heart belongs with the ocean.
Shortly after my epiphany, 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 hadn’t asked for divine guidance! And, now, in my new state of surrender, I had nothing to lose. Wide-open to a change of scenery and decided to dive into the idea of new possibilities. Then, I 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.” I instantly felt a nudge: log into the San Diego housing group on Facebook.
So, I listened.
Having lived in San Diego from 2004-2011, I’d considered moving back, so really, this came as no surprise. So, I picked up my phone and logged into the FB group. And BAM. 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, the house wasn’t actually in, San Diego.
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 being guided to leave the country – to a place considered, paradise? Holy moly this was better than I could have dreamed up for myself!
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. Unlike most Americans, I wasn’t worried about being “stuck there”. Are you kidding? I loved the idea of quarantining with palm trees and an ocean breeze! Some friends thought I was nuts, others were jealous, a few concerned. But 90% gave their blessing. They had no idea how I’d 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 the decision. Yes, people were sick and dying and I felt empathy for those suffering. However, to me, fear was spreading faster than the virus. Why didn’t I feel any anxiety? Was I selfish for being called to travel? Why was I more afraid of the people hoarding toilet paper, judging others, and giving away their personal power so quickly? I wasn’t worried about getting sick or getting others sick. I didn’t feel the need for a mask. In fact, despite the uncertainty. something inside me felt more certain than ever.
The world was shifting
People were becoming hyper-aware of other people. The global pause was connecting us in ways like never before. Social distancing forcing us to separate, but also to face ourselves. Habits were no longer hidden, use of time, core values, and priorities. COVID was robbing people of their breath, yet Mother Earth thrived, breathing with ease. Daily communicating came to a halt, flights grounded, factories no longer fuming smoke. 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.
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, one of my best friends living in Florida, to tell her about my birthday and what was happening in California.
Flashback: How a Stranger To Friend Invited the Idea of Saint Petersburg
In 2008, working for the same Healthcare Recruiting company in San Diego, CA, I met Tina in… 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. Then I moved to CO. No matter where we’ve lived, we’ve remained the closest of friends. She’s literally become a part of my family. Then, Tina moved to St. Petersburg, FL, where she bought a home, complete with an adorable studio surrounded by palm trees.
In December (while living in Hawaii) Tina was visiting with my Mom at her home in Delray Beach, FL, 4 hours from Saint Petersburg. , Curious about my “what next” they called me with an idea: rather than moving back to Colorado, I could move into Tina’s studio, typically listed as an Airbnb. Though I loved the idea of living with Tina and close to my Mom, the timing didn’t feel right, as if I had unfinished business in Boulder. I was set on returning to Colorado. But, the St. Petersburg seed was planted.
Timing Is Everything
It was March 16th. Thinking back to her offer a few months prior, I inquired about her Airbnb. She explained the current guests were booked through March 31, but once they left, she’d happily let me move in! I had to let it sink in. Never in my dreams could I have imagined a pandemic being the reason to move… to St. Petersburg.. with Tina. But, then again, I never imagined a pandemic and quarantine. Though I didn’t know anyone else nor had I been to visit, 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, 4 days later, in the midst of a massive Colorado snowstorm, I got the text from Tina I’d prayed for: “The Airbnb guests are leaving! The casita is ready on March 23. Let me know if you’re coming!”
As quickly as my plans fell apart, now they fell together.
I called everyone to share the good news: 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 Apocalypse, 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.
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? If you crave a connected conversation or want guidance connecting with yourself, I‘m here to help. 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. Whether you want to turn lemons into lemonade or a genuine, connected conversation about life, Consider me your support.
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,
Social Distancing on a Sunny Afternoon in St. Pete!
Very inspiring post! I am in the process of moving to St Pete area myself. Letting go of expectations as to what will then happen is a message I needed to hear.
Yes! We often want to control how it will all play out. But… some of the BEST outcomes are a result of unattaching, from the outcome 🙂 Join my FB group! I hope to have more Strangers To Friends events in the future — you’ll have to let me know when you get here. It’s paradise!
The Strangers To Friends FB Group