making me all weepy.

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think of this post as a little celebration on a completely random day.

one year ago today, i wrote an important postΒ (click here to read it). it may not have been important to anyone but me. but, nevermind that. it was one of those serendipitous days that occurs every so often when you just know that everything is right. when your soul is not whispering to you, but shouting with joy and you feel as if you might burst. a day when everything makes sense and life seems exactly as it should.

it was a very powerful day for me. a day where i realized that i was ready. ready to really chase my dreams. ready to accept and understand and move forward. ready to admit that i would never go back – i could never go back – to simply living my old, “regular” life, but i knew that it was time to embrace the calling and the feeling that i was meant to write. no matter what.

and while it made sense to me, how any of that would be possible, i had no idea. i knew that i was going to do it. i had no idea how, but i believed. lina and i were already committed to moving to asheville so that lina could follow her dreams, but this time last year, i embraced that this move meant that i would also be following my dream as well.

it was as if i gave myself permission to just jump. to take a leap of faith and risk it. and that’s what last year’s post was all about.

this week, Facebook turned 10 and they created little videos for users based on their photos and updates – things they had posted on Facebook since they first began using it. i joined Facebook in 2007, just a few weeks after meeting lina. and i actually joined so that lina and i could keep in touch. so, our entire relationship was based on a friendship started in sweden and developed through Facebook messages and webcam chats.

hug

when i clicked on my little one-minute video to see what Facebook had created for me, i was brought to tears by the photos and words that appeared before my eyes. it was a collection of beautiful moments from the very beginning of our relationship to now, in addition to some great highlights of my family and other amazing memories. i was so touched by my little video, and it brought to mind this incredible journey that i have been on throughout the past year. well, actually the past seven years…

so, i just had to share it with you. i wanted to share it as a way of honoring my life and reminding me of how overwhelmingly grateful i am. i wanted to share it with you to “prove” to you that you can make your dreams come true, that it is possible to live the life that you dream of and to find your passion. and i wanted to encourage you to never give up.

i hope that you, too, can look back over your life, whether it be 10 years or 10 days, and find things to celebrate as well. but, more than anything, i wish for you to feel hope and excitement and peace as you look forward.

click below to watch the video:

Β peace & love. xx

i’m rested and i’m ready.

finnish sunset

it’s been a long time. too long.

i have neglected my “from death to peace” story for many reasons. lack of time, lack of inspiration, the holidays, etc. well, perhaps it’s actually lack of priorities. but, i am back now (yay!) & ready to pick up where i last left off…saying goodbye to an amazing woman i met in sweden about six years ago. you can read about that here. and you can read all of the previous “chapters” here.

i began writing this post (the story part which is below) this morning. about halfway through, as i was listening to music while i wrote, my ears suddenly tuned in to the lyrics of the song that was playing for some reason. and here’s what i heard:

“i’m rested and i’m ready”

“wow. those lyrics are perfect for what i am writing right now”, i thought. so, i clicked over to my spotify playlist to see the name of the song. i knew it was the avett brothers, because i was listening to their latest album – a favorite of mine. and do you know what the title of the song i saw was?

february seven.

and my heart fluttered inside of me. hundreds of butterflies danced. my breathing immediately became short & fast. and i knew that this was one of those moments. one of those moments when the whole universe comes to me. when everything lines up, and i get a glimpse of what is true, of what is meant to be. a glimpse i see not with my eyes, but feel with my soul. the best way to describe it is to simply say i knew. i just knew. love. truth. my self. my soul. everything connected. everything made sense, even if i wasn’t thinking of any particular words or thoughts. i just felt. whole. complete. alive.

you see, today, as i write all of this, it IS february seven.

and i realized, that i was blessed with this feeling right now, as i was writing about experiencing that feeling six years ago. it was a sort of deja vu, but not. you’ll know what i am talking about as you read the chapter below… just know this. it was an amazing moment. and how i felt then, is exactly how i felt again right now. amazing.

and now… the next part of the story.

******************************************************************************************************************************

it all began to sink in and make sense.

as i traveled with my group of teenagers throughout scandinavia and a few of the baltic countries for 3 more weeks, i had a chance to reflect. everything began to make sense. i knew exactly what i needed to do. i knew from deep down in my soul, way deep down, that now was the time.

there were no magical signs, just an every-growing sense of peace, calm, and excitement. from somewhere i had perhaps never felt before, i felt a fire burning from within. i felt my true self.

after leaving sweden, my group headed across the sea to finland, and found ourselves deep in the finnish forest. all that was there were trees and a lake. it was gorgeous. and peaceful. and exactly what we all needed. traveling from city to city, country to country, meeting so many people all along the way, was quite intense. on top of that, i could feel something shifting inside of me. i needed some liz time.

there were no other people at the finnish camp during our stay, except for one or two finnish friends who served as out hosts. perfect. we spent our days doing chores, walking, singing, laughing, talking, writing, sauna-ing, and just being. it was a very peaceful, restful time in the middle of our 5 week tour. i remember sitting on the bank of the lake, staring at the water and the trees surrounding me. i remember thinking to myself, “whenever i need to re-focus, to have a moment of peace & quiet to myself, to feel inspired, then i will remember this moment.” the air was so crisp and clear. the sun was so warm. everything was vibrant. i felt like i was at the center of the earth. or the center of everything. in some ways, i think i was.

lake in finland

i was at the center of my being.

one morning, or afternoon, or evening, i don’t remember what time of day it was. it doesn’t really matter. i took a fairly long walk into the woods alone. i noticed everything that i passed. a little puddle of muddy water on the rocky trail. a bright yellow & orange flower, which i am sure was just a weed, but it was beautiful anyway. the road ahead of me which turned, leading deeper into the woods. the bright blue sky and the puffy white clouds. the dark green trees standing tall & proudly around me. the birds chirping and singing. little black bugs scurrying near my feet.

i walked on; well, meandered on is more like it. i took my time, soaking up everything with all of my senses. i thought about my life, of course. and, as i gazed at the path ahead of me, leading off into the woods, i knew that it was teaching me something about my life. that unknown path, that road less taken, was the road that was calling to me. again. i knew it was time.

path in the woods

from now on, i would be walking a new path. a path that was more real and more true. an unknown, frightening path. but, one that was also exciting and life-giving. i had met something in me that until then was completely unknown, or undiscovered.

from here on out, my life would not be the same. the journey i had been walking my whole life, every moment, every person, every experience, led me to this lake in the middle of finland. at least it felt like that. and looking back now, i can say that perhaps that was true.

our long days under the finnish sunshine came to an end, and it was time to leave this place which had become my sanctuary, like emerging from the center of a labyrinth.

if you know anything about labyrinths, then you know that they are ancient symbols for the journey of life, used in some religions. for years, i had been drawn to the idea of the labyrinth. i had even journeyed on a few myself, mimicking the journey inward and then out again.

a labyrinth is a circular pattern, usually on the floor or the ground. it is a path that winds back and forth, seemingly leading nowhere. but, if you faithfully continue, then you will suddenly find yourself in the center, not really sure how you arrived there. the journey into the labyrinth is symbolic of our journey into our selves, to our true selves, to god. the center is a place of calm, reflection, mystery, beauty, truth, and peace. but, after pausing in the center for a while, you must walk the same path out again. it’s impossible to just stay in the center forever. the way out involves criss-crossing, wandering, and winding the path backwards. it symbolizes our journey back out into the world. from a place of reflection and understanding, out into the world… transformed and ready to live life more faithfully and more fully.

labyrinth

as we rode on trains and buses for the rest of our trip through northern europe, i kept thinking about the labyrinth. and i realized that i had been living my own labrythinian journey. the lake in finland was my physical center of the labyrinth. everything before had been my journey inward. and from now on, everything else would be my journey back out again. yes, this entire trip, at this point in my life, was a real labyrinth experience. i began my journey inward when i began traveling through denmark & sweden. i entered the center, for a time of reflection and transformation, in finland. and i journeyed outward again while visiting estonia and latvia, allowing all that i had learned, all that i had experienced and now understood, sink into me. preparing me for what was to come. preparing me for the world again, and my new place in it.

once again a trip to scandinavia changed my life. i knew, as i did 12 years earlier, that there was something more to come. i knew that there was an unknown path ahead of me, and it was time to stop being scared of it, but to embrace it. for on that path, is where i will discover my true passion. on that path, i will follow my bliss.

finnish sunset

now, i knew the truth. my marriage of 9 years was over. and as soon as i walked into my home in the mountains of north carolina upon returning, i told my husband i wanted a divorce. i told him we both needed it. it had been a long time coming, and it was time to be honest with ourselves.

and with that, he packed a bag and left.

and i began a year of living alone, announcing to everyone at work and in my life that i was preparing to move to europe.

I went on the search for something true.
I was almost there when I found you.
Sooner then my fate was wrote
A perfect blade it slit my throat
And beads of lust released into the air.
When I awoke you were standing there.

I was on the mend when I fell through.
The sky around was anything but blue.
I found as I regained my feet
A wound across my memory
That no amount of stitches would repair.
But I awoke and you were standing there.

There’s no fortune at the end of the road that has no end.
There’s no returning to the spoils
Once you’ve spoiled the thought of them.
There’s no falling back asleep
Once you’ve wakened from the dream
Now I’m rested and I’m ready,
I’m rested and I’m ready to begin.
I’m ready to begin.

I went on the search for something real.
Traded what I know for how I feel.
But the ceiling and the walls collapsed
Upon the darkness I was trapped
And as the last of breath was drawn from me
The light broke in and brought me to my feet.

There’s no fortune at the end of the road that has no end.
There’s no returning to the spoils
Once you’ve spoiled the thought of them.
There’s no falling back asleep
Once you’ve wakened from the dream.
Now I’m rested and I’m ready
I’m rested and I’m ready
Yeah I’m rested and I’m ready
I’m rested and I’m ready
Yeah I’m rested and I’m ready
I’m rested and I’m ready
To begin
I’m ready to begin

~ the avett brothers

peace on your journey.