As you read this post, I am traveling in France, offline, enjoying my solar return (aka my birthday). This year, I celebrate a milestone—I turn 40. While getting older can feel like a mixed bag for anyone, I have to say, as I launch into a fresh decade, I do so with an incredible amount of energy. I’ve spent so much of my life doing deep work, and honestly, it feels so good.
Thinking Back Over The Last Decade
In the winter of 2015, as my mother-in-law lived the last days of her life—albeit gut-wrenching—I had the great privilege to support her in-home hospice experience of dying. The winter she died brought bone-chilling temperatures to New York. While I primarily lived in her home during that time so I could be with her on a daily basis, the house I had rented for about two years in rural upstate New York had a death of its own. Over the course of a couple of weeks of not being there at all, the record cold temperatures burned fuel faster than anticipated and the furnace blew out. While we had an insured alarm system on it that should’ve notified our oil company to come and add fuel immediately, the alarm system failed.
I discovered this one week before my mother-in-law finally departed. I needed to take a break and went home. When I arrived, after shoveling out the walkway to the front door and removing several feet of snow, I walked into a freezing cold house. When I went into the bathroom, I noticed something dreadfully wrong—the water in the toilet bowl was one giant ice cube. I quickly realized the pipes in the house froze completely. In some areas of the home, the walls cracked. Ugh. This old lake house had functioned as my solace. And now, amidst one of the toughest winters imaginable, it became uninhabitable due to disaster.
The truth is, for months leading up to this I had been in a contentious argument with my landlord about how precarious our heating situation felt. The furnace was really old and the insulation was not sufficient for the intensity of this particular winter. He had promised to make significant changes but when push came to shove, he didn’t.
One week later my mother-in-law passed in her home as planned. My husband, sister-in-law and I, talked her through letting go.
Death as the Catalyst for Personal Transformation
My mother-in-law and I shared a tight bond. We talked about everything. She came to realize that despite her well-educated life and personal development journeys, she knew little about death. As she engaged her hospice process, she embraced living chemo-free joyfully, which meant learning how to surrender life into her own transformation. This was deep work unto itself.
Dying became a learning curve that she traveled with curiosity and grace. As her friend and daughter-in-law, I empathetically traveled the journey with her learning all I could about how to die peacefully.
Strangely, on a spiritual and symbolic level, it made sense that my house died the same week that my mother-in-law passed. The freezing of pipes and cracking of walls represented the internal structure of my life—a significant turning point. It represented a passing of an identity that no longer existed. Yet, that didn’t mean it felt any less painful. I felt totally disoriented.
I remember speaking to my health coach about this at the time. Not returning to a place that felt so incredibly nourishing only intensified the grief I had felt from losing someone I loved. As I struggled with this, my coach said something I’ll never forget. She told me that the time had come for me to buy a home upstate.
Say, what? Buy a house?!
She pointed out that my life upstate morphed into a non-negotiable of my existence and turning my back on it meant turning my back on me. She helped me understand that the passing of mother-in-law represented a growth point that asked me to enter a deeper place of my own maturity. Committing to my life (and not running from it) would prove incredibly powerful for me.
Normally we discussed supplements and functional medicine testing. But in this moment, she reminded me that health remains about so much more than just vitamins and digestion. To her point, where you live contributes substantially to your well-being. And, I needed a home to accommodate my need for safety, security and peace, in an environment where I thrived. Touché.
It took about a year, but with time, a house presented itself a couple of miles away from where I had rented. A home with beautiful double-pane windows and a furnace that functions with incredible efficiency. A comfortable and warm place that graciously became a true solace. It held me through the last three winters with cozy warmth. And hopefully will continue to hold me for many more winters ahead.
The passing of my mother-in-law called me into a new iteration of my own adulthood.
It beckoned the question of what it means to embody my own womanhood (especially in light that I can’t have kids). It pushed me to commit further to the life I most want to live. Childless and unsuccessful in my attempts to adopt, I spent so much of the last five years exploring the edges of what it means to move through profound sadness and grief.
While I wouldn’t wish infertility, death, and despair upon anyone, I can honestly say that my experience of pain brought me to a new threshold of joy. And it’s from this place that I enter a new decade of life. I have more energy and peace than ever. These feelings stem from the bone-deep nourishment I’ve prioritized over the last few years. It’s a natural evolution of having moved through a dark night of the soul with a steadfast focus on spiritual development and a service-driven life.
Also: spending the majority of my time in the country since 2014 has not only expanded my ability to care for my health—hello, farm-to-table-living—but also my ability to go way deeper with my work, my spiritual practices, and all that lights me up in life. After all, I’ve created the space for it. Having lived back in NYC this past winter—the brash parallel to my life upstate—I remember all the reasons why I actively chose to live a much more monastic life than NYC really allows. It just feels so much better. I can focus with more concentration, and thankfully, I feel the cumulative benefits of the sincerity of how I take care of myself. Consequently, I will continue to spend the majority of my time upstate with a well peppered urban experience in NYC. I love doing deep work.
Launching into a new decade: More deep work
Honestly, over the last five years, as I’ve built my following and platform online, I did so from a place of dying. While I made big moves and accomplished a lot, I’ve primarily moved through a time of deep surrender, shedding, and release. Over that time, I let go of my life in Brooklyn. I let go of my mother-in-law. I let go of an idea that I’d one day become a mother myself.
I let go of my own shame-based ambition (ambition driven by a need to prove myself as worthy). I let go of a lot of anger, pain, and unresolved issues from my past. I let go of unrealistic expectations I had of life. (Deep work, for sure!)
I let go of more than I can really express here on a blog, but I attempt to because as a micro-business and personal brand, I want you to understand where I’ve been and where I am going so that you understand what I am about and what you can expect from me.
Approaching My 40s With Fresh Eyes
I am stepping out of a phase in life where the theme primarily revolved around death (though I humbly know death is always a constant in life) and am coming into a time of building, growing, and breathing life into my existence. And, this trajectory will definitely have an impact on the material I am creating on this blog, and in my business in general. Oh an hey, my book, Cosmic Health!
While I don’t know what is coming, exactly, I am deeply excited about it. I can’t wait to get back to the States to share more.
Until then, I am celebrating the joy of being alive—something I never take for granted. Thank you for being with me on this journey and happy new moon in Gemini. I hope you, too, embrace the deep work.