[A preview of my upcoming book, We Are One: How one woman reclaimed her identity through motherhood — Preorder Now!]
I turned off the dirt road onto another even less smooth dirt road and headed up the winding pass following the instructions for the cabin ‘resort’ I had booked. I followed the road to a tiny sign that read, “Turn here for resort.” I pulled up to a towering wooden gate with a sign announcing, “24 hour surveillance. No trespassing.” And a second sign with an image of a gun range target (with two bullet holes in the head and several in the chest) that read, “Nothing in here is worth dying for.”
I had no cell service. I seriously wondered whether I had the wrong address and if I might end up a trophy in someone’s sick basement if I stayed. After some serious deliberation, I climbed over the massive gate and unlocked it from the inside, opening it up to drive my Jeep through, while Opi whined with eagerness in the backseat to get out of the car after a three hour drive.
A man was approaching from a distance. I couldn’t hear him shouting, as the wind carried his voice away long before it reached me. We finally met.
“Hi, I’m Nathan.” He reached out his hand to shake mine. “You found it okay?”
“Until I got to the gate, actually. Your resort signs next to the ‘you will be killed upon entry’ signs sent a little bit of a mixed signal.” I laughed, half expecting an explanation. Dutifully, with some genuine hospitality, he drove me across the property. “You’ll see the main cabin up ahead. When you get there, turn right, drive down the hill, and you’ll find your cabin there. I’ll bring you dinner. Six o’clock okay?” Doing my best not to run over the farm dog that trailed next to me, I drove past the one other cabin on the property and down the hill to mine, secluded and perched on a rock overlooking a mountain range and valley below.
“Opi, NO! OPI!” I yelled, trying to keep Opi from chasing the cows that were grazing on the farm. Reluctantly, she made a sharp left turn, and blissed out of her mind, half galloped toward me, leaping over a pile of wood.
It was cold. I stood and let the wind chill my face as I listened to it rip across the mountain range. The wind has a different sound above 10,000 feet. It’s both silent and incredibly loud. Like its sound reverberates in your bones as it moves across the rocky landscape. I was lost in the feeling of insignificance it creates.
There is just something about the world above 10,000 feet. Perspective maybe. It feels like another planet. You feel your altitude and your size. There’s a wildness to the land, an energy that feels both liberating and intimidating. It stirs something to life in my soul.
“Hey.” I almost didn’t hear it, it was so faint under the wind. Surprised, I turned around to find a five year old boy standing behind me. He slipped his dirty hands into his unzipped navy blue Carhartt jacket, light blue super hero t-shirt underneath.
“Hey,” I replied, putting my hands in my pockets, wondering how he wasn’t freezing. We were in the middle of nowhere, miles from anything. I imagined zooming a hundred feet above us, looking down. Two strangers, meeting. One small, the other, reveling in her insignificance.
“I like the chickens over there the best,” he began, and he pointed to a fenced area with a dozen chickens.
“Why those ones?”
“They’re fluffy. Like my alpaca. He’s fluffy, too. Want to see him?”
I followed him to the other side of the farm, wondering where he came from. He told me that he traveled back and forth from his house six and a half hours away to the farm, to see the animals. That they had two baby goats and that the ‘mama goat was pregnant again.’ He told me he was moving in with his dad’s girlfriend and her kids and that he would sleep in the boys’ room and his sister would sleep in the girls’ room. Then they would build a new house or buy a new house. His vote was on building.
I couldn’t help but think of the moment in the restaurant months before, crying, thinking of splitting time with Pepper between Sibe and I and how profoundly things had shifted in such a short time. How much we’d learned about each other on our inner and outer journey to Colorado.
I high-fived him for the tour and walked back into the woods on the property to my cabin. Opi followed, prancing chest proud and jowls full from a bone she found on the ground.
Wrapped in a blanket, I stood on my porch, overlooking the uninhabited mountain range in front of me, listening to the wind. The sky was shifting from bright pink to orange, fading back into blue as my eyes moved across the skyline.
I imagined Pepper, three and a half years from now, greeting some stranger on our land. Taking them on a tour to show them her favorite chickens, in her unzipped jacket in the middle of December, unphased by the freezing, invisible, but highly audible wind. Acclimatized. I thought about how different her life would be than if we had stayed in Pittsburgh. To her, it would be normal. She’d never even question, even know, of the life she’d almost had.
That night, as I laid in my bed, Opi curled up next to me, I felt so much gratitude for the journey that brought me here. Sibe was three hours away putting Pepper to sleep. I, in the middle of the woods in a cabin by myself, nurturing a part of myself, an untamed, wild energy that needed expression. A deep woman, in solitude, reflection and the unfolding of a resurrection.
I thought about my vision. The one that had died in order for this one to live. I was so angry at Sibe to give up. This moment, in the high mountains of Colorado, standing with a kid and his alpaca, wasn’t part of it. I never saw myself here. Yet, it was so deeply satisfying. I wondered, for the first time in more than a decade, about the life I might have ahead of me, one without a vision both guiding and torturing me. And for the first time in weeks, I felt no grief for the life I let go of to get here.
There are two kinds of paths available to a person at any moment. A default future and a created future. How you meet the events of your life and what you do with them determines which future you will end up with. Your evolution is who you become in the process.
Standing here, listening to the wind, I’m amused at life’s turn of events. I hear Sibe’s voice in my head, “You’ve been stuck on the same vision for so long. Life has changed, things have happened. It’s time to pivot.”
We pivoted. From a tropical beach, to a craggy mountain top.
And I evolved. From a rigid fighter jet pilot, traveling mach 3 toward a target, to a woman, standing on a farm, talking to a kid about his llama, wondering about what lay ahead.
“We Are One” available Fall 2021. Preorder Now!
📚 PREORDER BONUS BUNDLE 📚
In greatest gratitude, with every preorder, I am sharing a preorder bonus bundle that includes:
- early access to the first four chapters (both digital and audio)
- invitation to an intimate, virtual ‘Behind the Pages’ event with me (and Pepper!), that will happen live before your book arrives
Register to receive your Preorder Bonus Bundle here.
This book is not about motherhood. It’s a book about identity. It’s a book about using life’s unexpected circumstances as a lever to open you up to the most authentic, alive, powerful version you can create yourself to be. In my case, motherhood.
Motherhood, for those of us for whom it was never in the cards, can do no less than shift the tectonic plates of your being. In the process, it can feel like it levels the life built upon them.
Embracing this will rock you, shake you to the core, and catalyze an expansion that would swallow the life you left behind whole — and allow you to live the full richness of life, heal the deepest parts of you and emerge anew, not redesigned, but renovated. Brought back to your true essence to create magic in your life in a way that you never anticipated, and arguably, could not have accessed without this massive ‘disruption.’
Our culture teaches us that it’s about balance. Finding time for yourself, making sure you take care of your own needs.
I call bullshit. Balance isn’t going to cut it. While logistics play a major role in the daily challenges of parenthood, for the kind of women this book is written for, it’s not about time management.
It’s about energy management, soul management. It’s not about balancing your checkbook and budgeting your time, it’s about creating a radical shift in who you are. Shedding your old identity and shifting who you are at the deepest, most expansive level.