Renaissance Woman|Entrepreneur|Author|Speaker|Mentor|Dreamer|Unconventional Free Spirit who helps people find themselves.

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Let's talk about pain...

  • Posted on
Let's talk about pain...

Have you ever been in a difficult position where you felt like no decision was the right one to make? I would venture to say that you have. In this life, nothing comes easy and sometimes we have to make difficult decisions where we cannot please everyone and have to make sacrifices for ourselves in the process. This was how I felt last year. So I decided to go on a sabbatical for three months to Croatia and Italy.

This was me trying NOT to make a decision about what to do with my store after the riots. And sometimes hitting a pause button (even though that is making a decision, too) is the best thing to do. You see, I couldn't really speak (or stand up for that matter) for a good two months after everything happened. And I needed to go where no one knew me, let alone spoke my language. I needed to be alone with my thoughts and my feelings as I couldn't walk down the street in Raleigh without someone coming to talk to me. I was grieving the destruction of my store, my business, my dream, my livelihood- one that had taken almost ten years to build.

And I was on the brink of building my empire. In May, I had secured a loan and a space for my body store. Within three weeks after that, I was going to have a space for my kids store, too. I thought by July I would have all three brands up and running. The moment that I had been anticipating since I decided to be self employed and leave Banana Republic. An idea that I was following since I wrote my business plan when I was thirty. But I wasn't the same person at thirty as i was at forty-one. And since I hadn't heard from insurance yet, time was giving me space to think. By the end of my sabbatical, I realized that I no longer 'wanted' to do this. You see, I needed to get really clear about what I wanted to do with my life, not what everyone else wanted me to do with it. And, for a people pleasing pisces person, that was hard. I felt like I was letting my clients, community, and employees down. I still struggle with this and let everyone else's thoughts get into my head sometimes. 

Even after I came back from my precious time and space alone, I was still trying to hold on to The Art of Style. It was, however, my second child, and letting go of it was not an easy thing to do. My soul was very much tied to that place. This entire concept of TAOS came out of the death of my husband, after I was passed over for a promotion after eleven years of dedication to BR, and realized life was too short. I loved what I did, but I could no longer do it there, so I did it for myself. So when it was taken from me, I felt like I was forced to let go. Not only of the store and all it meant to me, but severing my relationship with retail, which is all I had known since I was fifteen years old. I wasn't ready. But it was also a way for me to release all of my past, including my late husband's ashes. Something I had never felt compelled to do. Now was another opportunity to move on and shed yet another layer.

In December I was still struggling with the idea of letting everything go, but was told to remove everything from the space before returning to Italy in January. I thought, maybe if I just kept waiting, everything would be better. But, put all my emotions to the side, from a business perspective, it wasn't a really good time for retail. No one was shopping because no one was traveling or going out, half the places were still closed down, and downtown was simply a ghost town. Not to mention that Raleigh wasn't really the fashion forward city that I had been longing for it to be. My goal was to dress this city. But, after being in Firenze, I was inspired in a way I had not been in quite some time. I needed visual stimulation, and I knew that this was where I was supposed to be. I even started having designs come to me. I did always say I would start designing at fifty. And who knows, maybe there is TAOS franchise in the future.

As I was going through the pictures of the destruction of my store when I was on my sabbatical, I noticed that the only window that had not been completely shattered, was the one where my first book, you only live once, was. Miguel's ashes were underneath in one of his humidor's. Although I had purposely placed my book there for others from the outside to see, I think that message was actually intended for me. It was almost as if my first book was my reminder to seize the day. Funny how my second book, mind.body.soul. was another message I wrote for the world, but ended up being a lesson for me to let go- specifically, my store, my life as I knew it, my ego.

Ultimately, I knew that by releasing this part of me, I was creating space to let something that much more magnanimous into my life. I've been saying for the past several years that I want to get paid to travel to talk to people to inspire them to chase their dreams. I've also said for over twenty years that I was going to sell everything I own and move to Italy when I was forty. And that is just what I am doing. I'm just a little late. Or as I like to say now, I'm right on time... 

The founder of Taoism, Lao Tzu, said those words. A philosophy based on three pillars: simplicity, patience, and compassion. Ironic that TAOS (The Art of Style) was a play on words for Taoism- we are everything, we are nothing. 'Find yourself.' Well, as many of you know, I am continuing that mission in my life by helping beautiful souls find themselves through conscious living to create freedom, peace, and pleasure. Being a motivational speaker and international life coach have also been some of my dreams. And who says you can't have several in one lifetime? 

If you need help chasing your dreams and figuring out just who you are, please consider scheduling a session with me, or pick up one of my books for some inspiration. Today is National Book Lovers Day, after all. Lastly, if you know someone who needs to hear this message, please share the love...xo


Vanilla, amber, sandlewood