I’ve been keeping my head above water lately, coasting the crests and troughs of grief after my mother’s death this spring. The grieving process is just that: a process. It is a range of emotions we experience after a loss, whether of a loved one, a breakup, or even a job.
I would summarize the year’s first half as a season of loss — not in a depressing way, but one that inspires hope.
Yes, I’ve lost my mother, and it sucks, but she also found peace from years of suffering from pneumonia and pulmonary fibrosis. It selfishly comforts me to know this and also makes me wonder if grieving is selfish to begin with (although it seems to be involuntary regardless).
Yes, I’ve broken a relationship with a “friend,” but it has liberated me in a capacity that is not quantifiable. In her absence, I’ve felt so much more positive about life. I didn’t realize how much mental space highly critical people can occupy in your life. I am finally learning how accurate the adage, “You are who you surround yourself with” really is. If only I had been this reflective when I was younger, but I digress.
With my newfound “space” post-breakup, I’ve been in an explorative mood. Focusing on building stronger relationships with other friends, I accepted the invitation to a Grab Life by the Goals summit hosted by local life coach Lauren Widick. She offers “coaching, community, courses, and crazy-fun events. It’s a one-stop shop to make your goals unf*ckable with.”
The anticipation for this event alone helped shift my focus to the future and leave this season of loss behind me.
The day-long Grab Life by the Goals summit kicked off with writing our own personal manifesto. Never written one? Me neither, so here is a guide on where to start: A personal manifesto is a public declaration of your core beliefs, values and intentions. It is essentially a statement that outlines what motivates you, the principles guiding you, and your decisions.
I’m sharing my initial draft as an example, which I have already printed and placed on my refrigerator as a guidepost to financial freedom.
I will greet each day with gratitude, remembering my human experience is temporary. While my spirit is housed in this body, I will uphold a sheath of peace to protect me.
Each day will be bookended with mindful minutes, a combination of movement and meditation. The hours in between will be underscored by a healthy intake of meals and media that nourishes my mind, body and soul.
My mind will always focus on being the best version of myself to support my work and relationships through a positive lens, ultimately freeing me from financial debt. My body will maintain health through accessible means: hydration, nutrients, movement and rest. My soul will be sparked by love, surrounding myself with those that can love me as I am, not by what I achieve or can offer.
I am committed to serving this world with a growth mindset, abounding with curiosity, determination, and possibility. Anything is possible.
With my new, second-half-of-the-year mantra that “anything is possible,” I obsessively searched online for yoga retreats in other countries. I finalized my search and landed in Tulum, Mexico, a destination that’s been on my bucket list for some time.
I didn’t know much about the city, but it was built and inhabited by Mayans hundreds of years before European colonization. The Mayans are famous for their pyramid structures, many of which are still visible today.
I learned the contemporary city name of “Tulum,” which means wall, is colonial. However, research shows it was once called “Zama,” or dawn, in the Mayan language. The City of Dawn was calling my name, a new season to efface the traumas of the first half of the year.
A concept Lauren Widick referred to many times during the Grab Life by the Goals summit was manifestation, or materializing our innermost desires. She reminded us that we are all energetic beings, and by verbalizing our dreams we are putting it out there in the universe.
I stacked my holiday hours, personal time off and bereavement days to manifest the fuck out of my first solo international trip, upgrading my seat to first class both ways!
Safely back in the Queen City, I’m now integrating the key revelations I experienced during my downtime, quietly journaling and finding gratitude in the eclipse of such loss: nurture the positive relationships in my life, show up as my best self to every scenario, and greet life’s unexpected turbulence with a positive mental attitude.
Become a Nerve Member: Get better connected and become a member of Queen City Nerve to support local journalism for as little as $5 per month. Our community journalism helps inform you through a range of diverse voices.
This work by Queen City Nerve is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.