A guest post by Stacey Robbins
Have you ever had one of those days…
I mean months…
I mean years…
Before I share the wonky stuff, let me introduce myself: I’m Stacey Robbins – I’m an Author, Speaker, Integrated Wellness Coach and Certified Yoga Instructor, by trade. I’m wife to Rock, and mom to Caleb (14) and Seth (12) by love.
We hail from Southern California (I’m a transplant from the North East) and loved so much of our unconventional life by the beach.
I say unconventional because I’ve been treating life like a big experiment since I was diagnosed with an autoimmune dis-ease 20 years ago. Having your life go sideways in your health makes you look at life from that different angle. It’s pretty interesting to go from being focused on matching furniture, making lots of money as a professional musician/vocalist (my previous career) and wanting to be skinny – to just wanting to be alive.
It wasn’t a fast process. The diagnosis ended up leading me to the point where even being alive wasn’t enough – I really wanted peace, because the truth was: I didn’t have it and I wanted to know where it was hidden.
Like the old story of the golden Buddha that was covered in tar right in the midst of the people searching hardest for it, I have discovered (and am still discovering) it is right in our midst.
On the way to that unfolding revelation, we’ve done things like living without a TV for the better part of 18 years, having only 10 items of clothing in our closets, (each), and turning off almost all the breakers in our house so we could see what effects low electricity and indoor camping would have on our life.
We’re not those cool, crunchy granola people – and we’re not the mainstream, up-to-date-on-the-current-celebrities people either. We’re probably somewhere in between: Where I buy the mostly organic everything and my husband occasionally runs the kids through McDonald’s – then tells me after…
It’s been not boring, our family’s and friends have looked at us like we’re the kooky ones and we’ve learned a lot about what matters most to us. I’m still on the computer a lot with a slight addiction to Facebook, and other more processed living kinds of things, but you know…it’s a journey.
It’s our journey.
Ah yes, back to our journey and the year that got us here…
2015 was a weird year: The unresolved bullying issues at our beloved Waldorf school led to my then 12 year-old, Caleb, pulling himself out and sitting home with me, trembling during the day and not leaving my side and then, at night, would have to sleep sitting up because he’d throw up acid while he was sleeping.
The stress had been too much. I had sent a lovely, intuitive, super smart, sensitive kid to a school we loved so much – and got back someone who felt broken.
It is so much harder to heal a child than it is to raise a child…
My heart was aching daily while I cared for him and worked at home with my writing and coaching clients when my husband informed me that his division was sold and everyone was losing his job.
He was the team lead and therefore one of the last to go, but before he was done had to work 15-hour days while being on call and doing what a whole team used to do. So stressful.
He came home from where he had worked for 8 years, fried like the little burnt French fry hiding in the corner of the bag, and 2 weeks later, our then 11 year-old got injured in soccer and ended up in a wheelchair for nearly 2 ½ months.
It was a lot.
So stressful. So much.
The pickle on our sundae was when our landlord informed us that the darling condo we had been renting and we had endured all the noises of construction for 2 years, was going to be increased by 600 dollars a month now that construction was done.
So much to heal in our family…now, including me.
My health condition doesn’t thrive in stress, in fact, it kind of devolves and I found myself having my own version of PTSD by the time November hit and my husband still hadn’t found work and the pressure to maintain our unconventional life was falling solely on me.
Aren’t I supposed to be the author who talks about how to play and win the mental game?
Don’t I always tell my readers and my clients to keep up their self-care during the hard times?
What the hell is happening to my life?
Once I got done with the three weeks of woe-is-me and muttering under my breath every swear word I ever knew while scrubbing my baseboards ‘til they squeaked (did I mention I’m Italian and we clean when we’re upset??)
I sat myself down in my meditation time and said these words,
“I’m the grown-up in the room. No one is going to save me from this. I’m 100% responsible for my life.”
Big ol’ hairy sigh…
See, I had to clear the space and shift out of the anger and frustration and blame (which is totally normal and fine to have in the process, but is super destructive to live in, long term) and I had to get back to my inspiration place.
Taking responsibility to make my life happen was crucial for me. I started seeing that all of these situations were taking me off of auto-pilot and giving me the opportunity to return to center so that I could ask myself these important questions:
Who am I?
What am I here to do?
What would I be doing if money and opportunity were no object?
I started dreaming, “I’d pack up life in So Cal for a little while and go on a road trip across the US and hold workshops and gatherings for the women who have bought my books and want to take life to the next level. Then, I’d take my family and fly to Europe, bringing them all to Florence – a city that breathes inspiration and healing to me. After a time of rest and healing for all of us, I’d start writing a new book about my unconventional life.”
So, that’s what I did: Each day and night, I went into my meditative place and imagined my life traveling. I began reading blogs about travel hacking, credit cards with rewards, airlines with inexpensive flights and more…And, best of all, my friends turned me on to this wonderful Worldschool FB group (thank you, FB addiction) that Lainie Liberti started. Day after day, and middle of the night when I’d wake up, I’d go on and read about other adventurous families shifting their lives to using travel as a means of learning.
It strengthened me and made me so happy.
Happiness is a great place for inspiration.
In fact, that’s an important point I really want to make: I didn’t birth this from my frustration – if I had, it would have been reactive like,
“I have to leave. Life is falling apart.”
“This place doesn’t make me happy; happiness is everywhere but here.”
I knew too much to do that. I wasn’t looking to leave – I was looking to go —
toward my dreams,
and toward my inspiration.
I had no delusion that this life would be better and that all my problems, aches and pains in my heart, mind or body would disappear…that’s not how it works.
Because even though we only packed enough to fit into a backpack, those things we’re running away from seem to have this magical ability to sneak in to our bags and travel with us.
They’re invisible, but they’re heavy.
And as the saying goes, those heavy things remain with us until we’ve learned what they’re there to teach us.
I brought the family into the conversation, “It’s been a weird year. Would anyone like to go on a Magical, Healing Adventure?”
I laid out my dream and everyone was all-in.
Until, you know, it came time to pack…
I had to keep the vision while we parted with things we thought we needed…I kept telling the boys, “We sell these things, we get our plane tickets. We sell those items, we get our Airbnb…”
I had to keep the vision going. They didn’t yet have the vision, they were feeling emotions and excited but I had the vision. I was the leader. I was the grown-up in the room. I chose this and all the discomfort, emotions and crankiness that comes with shifting your life…
I had to keep reminding myself of that.
As I planned my book tour, names would come to me during my meditation times – “Send an e-mail to Keri, Alycia and Lindsey in Phoenix…” I did. They were not only excited to hold a workshop, but to provide the hotel room while we were there.
Every day, I’d get names coming to me from the community and I’d reach out.
Every single person around the country said, “Yes.” And then, added the bonus of, “And we’d love to host you, cook for you, show you around…”
Oh my god. It was a parade of yes’s.
Our road trip was falling into place.
Friends came and helped us pack: Just the right people at just the right time.
Friends handed us Visa gift cards or an envelope with cash or surprised us with a Paypal donation to our efforts.
The boys got gigs playing their violin and cello for our spiritual community. They got paid handsomely and it all went into their Magical, Healing Adventure jar.
By the time we left on February 29th – the Leap year date when we took our big leap, we were ready.
We felt loved, supported, inspired and ready.
We started my book/speaking tour: Arizona, Texas, Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, North Carolina and New Jersey – and all the states in between. The boys made new friends, met family members they had never met, learned how ride ATV’s, shoot pellet guns, learned Encaustic painting, went to science museums and experienced so many loving friends and pets, that their hearts were full.
I worked hard and served our community with the events and coaching. My husband carried the heavy weight of almost all the driving and packing and repacking the car (we had more than a backpack each for the drive. Much more.)
And at the end of 12 events in 5 weeks, across 5200 miles, we got on a plane and headed to Europe.
Just like I had dreamed.
And now, we’re here. I’m writing you from Florence, Italy. We’ve been here four weeks and have a few more left before heading on to who knows where.
A lot of stuff has come up in the first few weeks: The hurt that the boys are dealing with. Fussiness between them from some of the wounds they experienced at their schools and the trusts that were broken because, you know…we usually save the ickiest, most aching parts to take out on family. The bumps of not having friends or language barriers here have also come up.
My heart has hurt, in between the jet lag and head colds and this autoimmune thing, to see the boys struggle to find their way back home to who they are. To the peace that’s in their soul…hiding right in their midst – which is their journey to discover and my privilege to support.
After a month, things are settling. Their frustration time is passing just like mine did in Southern California, and they’re starting to dream:
What they want to have in their lives, instead of what’s hurting them from their past. I’ve been telling them stories about all that we’ve manifested and the power we have to manifest what we want for our future and our right now.
They can hear that differently now.
Seth said, “I want to do modeling. And one day I want to own an airplane and an airport.” He’s always told me he was going to be ‘more than a millionaire’ and ‘do something to end world hunger.’
He’s dreaming again.
Caleb said, “I want to be in the open space of nature. That’s where I belong. I want to work with my hands, breathe in fresh air and use my imagination. That just sounds right to me.”
I smiled. Because I saw that Lainie has an amazing Project World School in Wales and Dublin, building an organic farm for almost a month in August. I reached out to her, asking questions to see if anyone had offered a scholarship for an eager teen, and thanking her for all her inspiration. She had no idea how much a part of this manifesting that she and the Worldschool community have been to our family so, I told her some of our story and how we dramatically shifted our lives within four months. She was so inspired and asked me to share it with you, so that you can be inspired too.
This is where we are: In Florence, Italy, on our Magical, Healing Adventure. We don’t really know what’s next, but what we do know is that we are going to keep coming back to those key questions of
“Who am I?”
“What am I here to do?
“What would I do, if money and opportunity were no object.”
And we’re going to do our very best, taking responsibility for our life and living in partnership with this Abundant Universe,
to live from that place of vision
and to make our
Sending you so much love as you live from that place, too.
You can do it!
Would you like to support Caleb? He is excited about making this dream of Project World School a reality and needs to raise the 4000. dollars plus travel to get there. If you would like to help his dream come true, thank you! He is accepting pledges and support. Please send a private message here if you’d like to chat more. Grazie!
Stacey Robbins (www.staceyrobbins.com) is an Author, Speaker and Integrated Wellness Coach. Her book, You’re Not Crazy and You’re Not Alone, (Amazon) addresses how we can use our circumstances to turn our lives into gold.Her husband, Rock Robbins, is the male voice to the autoimmune conversation: www.marriedtohashimotos.com: www.marriedtohashimotos.com. Stacey and Rock are on a Magical, Healing Adventure with their sons, Caleb and Seth, while she writes her new book, “An Unconventional Life.”