This post was not on the schedule.
I sat down at my laptop this morning after whipping up two cups of coffee and my standard green protein shake and I had the urge to write a one year reflection.
It made sense. I remember starting out on my comeback experiment around the beginning of December.
So, I opened WordPress and clicked back to the very first post: December 13, 2015.
Exactly one year and my soul instinctively knew it.
Life had gone down the tubes in August of that year, and had generally just been the absolute worst through Thanksgiving, when my divorce was final and I suddenly had the space to consider how to pick up and move on from the traumatic mess that was left after the fact.
As a Type-A therapist with a passion for resiliency, I ended up crafting a pretty aggressive personal experiment based on the research.
I resonated with the concept of the hero’s journey and transforming my adversity into a legacy. And I simultaneously wanted to be authentic to myself.
Therapists tend to be pretty polished and passive, which explains why I never really enjoyed the traditional therapy session.
At heart, I am irreverent, playful, and relentless; a force not to be reckoned with.
I’ve tried to chameleon into what others expected of a young woman in my industry for years, but this project was personal, so I didn’t set out to make it speak to anyone but me.
It just made sense to think of this little experiment as my Rockstar Comeback Tour.
And so it all began last December with an initial list of 12 tour stops that integrated all of the research into concentrated injections of resiliency.
Across 7 days alone exploring a beautiful island and saying yes to every new experience, I reconnected with who I am. Underneath all of the layers of conformity and suppression was a strong, adventurous, proudly eccentric woman who no longer had any desire to play a part.
This single experience was so powerful that I’ve committed to an annual solo retreat to return to that place of reckless truth and will be venturing to Thailand and Bali in less than two weeks.
After returning from Puerto Rico, I went about mashing together the aspects of my former life that would be allowed to remain with the new infusions.
I didn’t get around to every tour stop on my list this first year, deviating as I followed a rigid mantra of saying yes to every sign – every book recommended to me, every introduction, every new experience.
In these past 12 months:
- I explored all five of Utah’s National Parks
- I tried a lot of new things, like scuba diving, sea kayaking, river body surfing, canyoneering, shooting trap, rock climbing, snowboarding, options trading, playing the guitar, changing a tire, traveling by train, and flying an airplane (three times!)
- I purged my life of all of the “stuff” that didn’t spark joy (thanks to Marie Kundo)
- I hiked more than 150 miles, summiting my first peaks (Grandeur Peak (3x) and Mount Olympus)
- I was diagnosed with trauma-induced Type-1 diabetes in February after dropping more than 30 pounds and temporarily losing my vision, and then subsequently turned that challenge into an opportunity to kick ass
- I rented a trailer and took my kids camping in Moab for Easter break – facing down my anxiety around adventuring with kids as a single mother
- I traveled to Europe…twice, exploring Venice, Florence, Montalcino, Rome, Naples, Pompeii, Sardinia, Barcelona, Milan, and celebrating my one year anniversary of rock bottom under the Arc de Triomphe in Paris
- I raised $1,000 for domestic violence services and rappelled down the side of a 13-story building
- I ventured out on four solo road trips, driving more than 4,000 miles while exploring Utah and the Pacific Northwest
- I launched Rockstar Comeback as a community for others who are also in transition, suffering, or restless with four events over the summer
- I learned to meditate, and established a daily practice over the past four weeks
- And, most importantly, I toured wineries in Italy and Spain and drank an untold number of glasses of great red wine (a friend and I agreed yesterday that a great life is rooted in wine, yoga and meditation – and it all starts with wine)
Through it all, lessons unfolded that shifted my focuses, added or subtracted from my original list, and ultimately became a flexible criteria for living with resiliency:
- Create a sanctuary – a safe, peaceful homebase to come back to on your comeback.
- Start and end with gratitude.
- Be open to the signs. Be curious and say yes to new experiences and people. Follow the breadcrumbs relentlessly and without judgment.
- Practice stillness.
- Move. In nature. As often as possible. Nature provides the beautiful, peaceful, and inspiring perspective needed to find and maintain your own reckless truth.
- Build rigid boundaries. Seek out and invite good, positive, non-toxic people into your life (and be a good, positive, non-toxic person). Purge the rest.
- Find and follow role models who blow your mind with the positive impact they create simply by being who they are.
- Learn. Apply. Reflect. You aren’t the first person on this road. Identify one shift that would drastically improve your life, find the book or workshop on that topic, and apply the lessons. Repeat.
It’s been a year of extreme highs and lows. A roller coaster that I am grateful for, but I am also exceedingly relieved to have this first year behind me.
Looking forward to next year’s review, I hope to have:
- Firmly established my own sanctuary. After negotiations with my landlord, I finally had a concrete patio poured yesterday and feel content to stay put in my current home. It’s time to nest.
- Maintained a daily meditation practice. Living in the present moment is a discipline that requires practice and has already brought me so much peace and power.
- Mastered the guitar. This is one of the more intimidating items on my comeback list.
- Become a yoga instructor, with a rockstar twist of course.
- Taken to the skies again, but this time in a hot air balloon and helicopter.
- Ventured out on my first backpacking trip and summited King’s Peak (tallest peak in Utah)
- Adventured with my kids again, this time on our first trip to the Grand Canyon
- Read 12 books that built up resiliency in my own life
What kind of difference would it make if you asked yourself today what you want to have achieved one year from now?
When I launched Rockstar Comeback as more than just a personal experiment and held the first live events, I expected the message to resonate most with trauma survivors.
But, in reality, the vast majority of attendees and those who actually applied the ideas were simply stuck in the status quo. Restless with a life where the momentum of the daily task list carried them forward without much to speak of when looking back.
In truth, that’s where my Rockstar Comeback was born – in 2012 when I recognized a status quo in my own life that was unacceptable and began to make changes.
Whether you are restless, in transition, or suffering from trauma or loss, it might be time to make a change with your own resiliency experiment.