Rising from the ashes after a dramatic fall from grace, a deeply personal share about reclaiming power and possibility
Do our bodies hold memory? I ask mine what it feels and what it remembers about this day.
17 years ago almost to this moment, I was sitting at my desk in pajamas drinking my morning coffee, getting ready to begin my day as an exuberant toddler in footy pajamas was riding throughout the apartment on his scooter…OK, so to be clear it was actually a double cappuccino hand-delivered by my driver. This was a morning ritual. As he came to pick up the husband to usher him off to work, he delivered this dark nectar of the gods from the Greek diner on the corner of Madison Avenue and 79th Street and hid a cigarette or two above the front doorframe for me to indulge in on the terrace after the husband had vacated the premises. It was another life, in another time.
Our house was steeped in routine and ritual day in and day out, a changing of the guards of sorts. Husband left. Wife indulged vices (code for self-medication) and awaited her relief — her housekeeper and her nanny — before getting to work. My office was located in our luxury condo with 3 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms. And for anyone who knows New York City real estate, that’s a thing worth mentioning. But I digress.
The point isn’t what I was wearing, what I was drinking or where I was sipping it. The point is that this was the day that shifted everything — and I don’t use the term ‘everything’ loosely.
Though it started out as a day seemingly like so many others, it was the one in which my life literally fell apart at the seams in a chain of salacious events that would leave me divorced, penniless and dragged through the court system in a high profile scandal I had nothing to do with…all with a toddler in tow. Yeah, you can’t make this stuff up.
And as I recount it 17 years later, I curiously refer to myself in the 2nd person, not simply for artistic license, but because…the truth is that I barely recognize her.
She wasn’t a bad person. She just didn’t know that she was asleep. She thought the physical trappings she was surrounded by would finally make her feel safe, but they actually never did. In ways she was a princess trapped in the tower. But she was about to wake up and meet the person who is writing this today. And the person of today would reach back, hold her hand and pull her forward…Trust me, you can do this. You are meant to do this…and there is so much more YOU to discover and become. This isn’t a Hallmark greeting card full of “you can do it” ra ra rah. This is your life. Fasten your seatbelt. You are about to walk through the fire. You will get burned, but you will also begin to reclaim the breadcrumbs you have left for yourself along the way — you will begin to see your role in landing here and you will find your way out, I promise.
Most of all, you will wake up. You will unleash true power within you that you never knew existed. You will remember who you are. You will heal. You will love again. And that young woman will feel like a stranger to you one day as she fades into the horizon. But hold onto her; honor her, forgive her, love her, see her in compassion…because she got you here. And write the damn book before you forget the pain, anger, fear and trauma. You can’t see it now, but they too will slip away. But before they go, use them. Don’t be used by them. They came for a reason. Thread their wisdom through the story of your life, weave a new one and keep on weaving.
So I ask my body, How do you feel?…and as I sit in silence remembering, gentle tears well up. There is sadness. I’m sorry, I whisper to her. I didn’t honor you then, I ignored you, I denied you, I beat you up for a long time…but I see you now. Thank you.
Is there a story that you are hiding from…something you’d rather shove to the recesses of your memory? Perhaps it’s too painful, triggers emotions, angers you or brings up feelings of shame? Could you imagine releasing yourself from its clutches?
Yes, the body remembers and stores its memories deep within our cells. But there are also gentle cues for healing.
This life journey isn’t about being saved. It is about being seen. It isn’t about rewriting history. It isn’t about beating yourself up. It is about activating all that is already within you. It is about becoming your own superheroine and saving yourself. And it doesn’t matter what that path to here looked like, how long it took, or how difficult it was.
You are here now. You got here as fast as you could. Perfectly timed.
So now, what are you going to do with all that good stuff? You worked hard to find your way to this moment. Make it count. Make it worth the while and thread that into the Best Selfer you were meant to be.
I share a bit of my trauma to convey the scope of how far we can fall and how high we can soar when we allow ourselves to step out of old stories and into the magnificent embrace and power of healing. Trust where life is leading you.
Like most life-altering shifts, mine started with falling apart. And dare I say, that isn’t always the worst thing. Life presents myriad opportunities for each of us to seek so that we can step into that new role as CEO of our Best Selves. Let’s just say I was a reluctant CEO…however, I have never regretted stepping up for a moment since.
Let life happen to you. Life is in the right, always.~ Rainer Maria Rilke
Is there a story or event that has held you captive? Is there a part of you that needs to come alive…to wake up? We learn best through the sharing of story…will you share something of yours in the comments below?