Many have called me a dreamer, and that is true. During my life, I’ve been at times homeless and at times living in luxury. I’ve gone from living on the street to working million-dollar deals and everything in between. I’ve struggled and suffered, gained and lost, loved and learned. Through it all, I’ve been continually striving for “something I couldn’t quite put my finger on” My life’s journey has brought me a wealth of experience and hard-won lessons that I can now without shame share with others.
A Greyhound Bus and a Garbage Bag
I was born in Washington State. As a teen I had many serious obstacles and challenges to deal with. So serious, I ended up in Child Protective Service, Foster Care and Group Homes off and on from the age of 5. At the age of 14, I finally ran away to Los Angeles on a Greyhound bus, carrying my belongings in a garbage bag. I saw life in it’s rawest form and lived life fast, always on the run. As I look back now, I realize with a chuckle that this was my first travel experience! All I had then were dreams, determination, and a sense of humor.
For years, I had to overcome major obstacles on a daily basis just to survive. Off and on, I was homeless. I had my first child, my awesome son Chris, while I was still in my teens and my second daughter died at birth. I later had my beautiful daughter Mariah in my early twenties. I worked two and sometimes three jobs at a time, finally ending up in Nursing School with a fake ID desperately wanting a better life for my kids.
Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places
Because of my desperate need to be loved, it was inevitable that I would make poor choices in men. Not surprisingly, I got myself into a string of abusive relationships. Only years later did I learn about co-dependency—especially that it’s not my job to fix, support, teach, or save anyone. During these relationships I was dealing with my own addictions, too. I became a workaholic so I wouldn’t have to face my real problems. But of course, running from my own issues eventually caught up to me in the form of burnouts, and breakdowns. There were bright lights, too. From my teen years on, I immersed myself in studies of ancient spiritual texts and the yogic science of consciousness; they became my lifeline.
I went through hell and back trying to finish nursing school while working multiple jobs and almost single-handedly raising two children. As an infusion nurse, wound care nurse and later as a hospice nurse. My patients loved me, and I loved them. For the first time in my life, I was making good money in a stable job and didn’t have to count on anybody. I worked nights, slept days, and tried to be as good a mom as I could.
The Big Crash: Real Estate and My Own
Always dreaming and looking for opportunity, I moved from nursing into real estate, eventually becoming one of the highest designated brokers in the country. I worked hard and played hard. I jet-set around the globe, paying people to do everything from cleaning to childcare so I could work and give my kids everything that I had never had—including nice houses, private schools, and international vacations. However, I was not really mentally present,I did not know how to be. I missed out on many years with my children, hardly realizing that I was passing on to them my own pattern of childhood neglect.
As a Real Estate/Mortgage Broker, I bought and sold houses left and right. At the height of the market, I had four assistants and a staff of thirteen, and I was closing million-dollar deals every month. Then came the crash. Not only the real-estate crash, but also the family crash. My kids resented me, I had put them through so much without even knowing it… I had a complete breakdown. Even in the midst of it, I kept working on other people’s transactions.
I knew how to take care of others, but I had no clue how to take care of myself! The money was gone, my husband was gone, my kids were not speaking to me and no one gave a damn. All my supposed friends disappeared with the money, and I was left broken hearted, owing the IRS, alone and empty and homeless again. I asked myself, “How could this happen . . . again?” I went back to nursing, stuffing my feelings with food and booze for five years. I worked myself to the point where I could barely walk. I saw patients day and night, then went home and drank wine to numb out the pain.
From the Ashes: Awakening to a New Vision
In the depths of my pain, however, I began to wake up. I looked around and began to see how nurses, doctors and other disciplines were treated in home health and in hospitals. I couldn’t believe that a healing profession could be so dysfunctional: nurses overworked and underpaid, exhausted and overwhelmed; on the verge of quitting or breaking down. Doctors who saw no hope with the increasing paperwork vs. patient care. All my co-workers were completely exhausted, family lives torn, sick and depressed, severely overweight, drinking, having panic attacks and chest pains; I saw one have a heart attack at 42 yrs old.
I witnessed them not even knowing about proper diet and that “plants did indeed contain protein” and they ate fast food in the car while driving to see patients and teaching diet to their patients! I was starting IVs and giving IV hydration to fellow nurses as they drove with the IV still in their arm to see patients; completely exhausted, dehydrated and overloaded. Not even having time to use the bathroom while driving in LA traffic! That is just INSANE! How could the public heed our advice when we aren’t even taking care of themselves?
I vowed to save myself and start a movement that would help others. I started to see that the only hope was for we healthcare workers to change ourselves from the inside out.— this could surely change the workplace from the inside out! This would help us all to wake up, set boundaries and feel alive again! This was my awakening. This was the moment I decided to become a catalyst for change, to start a revolution… Little by little, my intuition began calling me, stronger and stronger, and I began to listen to the whispers of my own heart. Gradually and with CLEAR intent, I began attracting all of the people, places, and things I needed to be of service to others.
I spent a lot of time working with healing energy and people, nursing my wounds and scars, allowing me to come full circle to my authentic self. I began all over again to read books of ancient wisdom. I got back into a daily meditation and started a daily yoga routine. I changed my diet, exercised, truly listening to my body. I slowly got back in touch with the real me and began to release the “false selves” I had created over half a lifetime. I moved again and again — probably a total of eight times — until I knew I was in a community that would truly support my spirit and who I really am. Eventually I ended up in Bali creating retreats for “Burned out Caregivers”
Healing From a Place of Wholeness
Now, from a place of wholeness, I know that my previous careers were not in alignment with my core spirit. Now it all makes so much sense why I went to places like Machu Picchu, Egypt, the Amazon, India, Thailand, and so many other spiritual centers. Now I understand why I have spent my life speaking to healers, shamans, monks, priests and spiritual practitioners, as well as religious leaders in villages and cities around the world. How I learned about true community and support for our brothers and sisters; we all want love and understanding….and above all, Peace.
Now I am doing the work I was always meant to do, and it is truly a labor of love. Sure, my life has been one of extremes. But thanks to this lifetime of ups and downs, sickness and health, success and failure, I now have a message of true healing — not just for myself, but for healthcare practitioners everywhere. We must first become healthy and whole ourselves if we are to continue to effectively help others. As I said, many have called me a dreamer, and that is true. I have always been a dreamer, but now I am ready to share the fruits of my dreams in a big way. My vision is to help nurses, doctors and caregivers heal themselves so they can heal others… and then go on to heal the entire healthcare industry! If your spirit is calling to you like mine is, then there’s no time to lose.