It was the coldest day of the year. You know the kind – when the wind whips your hair around and the bone-chilling cold stings your face in spite of your efforts to dress for the weather. I unloaded my car into the tiny cabin in the woods, toting an armful of groceries in one arm while managing the dog leash of Paisley the Rhodesian Ridgeback in the other.
At the urging of friends, I was taking a few days to retreat into the woods to ritualize a major life transition - as in, the big and scary kind.
I got unpacked, changed into sweatpants, lit a fire and poured myself a glass of wine. I sat down on the cozy couch, and my mind started asking the questions - the loudest and most forceful of them being: “What did you just do?” On December 31, 2014, I jumped off of a very comfortable and well-furnished cliff to test my wings of self-employment.
Many asked, “Why would you give up a good job like that – isn’t that risky?” Why, yes – it was definitely risky. It’s the riskiest thing I have ever done. But I had to. I needed to. I wanted to. I worked in hospice, in a beautiful office, with kind coworkers and employees, and had worked my way to the assistant director’s role. I finally had an office with a window – a common metric some folks use to define success.
But when the topic of my resignation would arise, most looked at me like I needed someone to take my temperature, or check to see if I was oriented to time and place. Life has a way of moving ahead, whether you are on that train or standing there watching it pull away from the station. And for me, the desire to be on that train was driven by the knowledge that I had more that lived inside me – and that this nice, comfy, safe office environment was not going to be the place where I would be able to unpack that creativity and thrive.
Survive, yes. Thrive, no. I am a writer.
Down to my bones, the very creation of a booklet or a blog post or a newsletter fills me with excitement and anticipation. And while I have done my share of writing throughout my hospice years, there are more projects that live inside of me that I needed to breathe life into – that called my name, demanded my attention, and wouldn’t let up.
I needed flexibility. I needed space. I needed downtime to free the creativity from the oppressive, binding walls of 9 to 5 (or, 8 to 6:30 – it’s hospice, you know).
When my writer archetype was asking permission to come out, she was usually squashed by the heels of my manager archetype, who had a much more urgent list of “to-do” items that ruled the calendar.
Working with hospice patients – and later supervising hospice professionals who were making a difference at the bedside – were foundational for me as I listened for years to the calling.
And that calling, like a rejected child hanging her head low, waited patiently for me to listen. I had convinced myself that I was too scared to take the leap of faith. And then, the conundrum – I was also too scared to NOT take the leap of faith. My heart’s longing was to create change and to make a difference. Cliché, I know. The more I lived, the more I knew that contentment was an inside job, and the road to a fulfilled life was to pass on the goodwill.
For me, that means that the knowledge held inside was, well - inside. It doesn’t do much good unless I share it.
I have seen firsthand the results of a well-informed and supported hospice patient and family, and knowing what to expect in a very difficult life transition can transform the death experience for all involved. Sitting at the patient’s bedside as a hospice professional is sacred space. This experience prepared me to move outside of my comfort zone and unfurl the wings that were given to me, and reach others who would benefit from the information in the booklets.
What lights a fire in my soul? Reaching thousands of people, nationwide and beyond, who have questions about the end-of-life issues, and writing the booklets with intentional attention to the delivery of information in a soft, compassionate, and inviting manner. With the website, word of mouth, and the belief that this was a large part of my life’s purpose, my dream was launched and Wings of Change Publications was born.
There is something to be said about throwing caution to the wind to launch a dream. I trust that when you do the right thing, you will fly. You are a part of our flight! Thank you for being a part of our unfurling and for visiting our site. We have a lot of helpful ideas and articles in store for you! Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn and sign up for our TEND newsletters and future blog posts.
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