The day we stop learning is the day life ends! It has been my experience that the older we get the more aware we are that there is so much more to learn.
I wrote my story fifteen years ago and when I showed it to my publisher she cried and I realised I had written my story as a victim. As I took the manuscript away from her, I vowed I would not write again until I had overcome my feeling of being a victim.
During the interim of that first draft to the final publication last year of Sizzling at Seventy – Victim to Victorious, I did a heap of work on myself and as I describe in the book, studying ontology was the icing on the cake and helped me to become a better observer of my emotions and the triggers that influenced my behaviour.
My family was initially shocked at how open I was in the book, but as I had lived in shame a great deal of my life, I felt it was important to tell my story – warts and all – to allow those with similar experiences to feel safe about letting go of their shame.
I am aware that I am a late sizzler and yet in some ways, my journey is only just beginning. I recently read Gay Hendrick’s book The Big Leap and found it extremely inspiring. He talks about reaching our zone of genius and I identified that I had not reached that point, but more importantly I could clearly identify what was stopping me.
I discussed this recently with a dear friend who had always seen my pathway more clearly than I did myself. She said that she had come to realise that whilst my path very clearly is to speak, write and coach, her zone of genius was to find the core of her being and be there for others in her own quiet way. Our zone of genius does not necessarily mean that we are out in the public eye.
My darling husband encouraged me to write my book and two weeks after I completed it, he was diagnosed with an aggressive terminal illness. He passed away at the end of last year and I wanted to go with him. He replied, “No darling, my star is about to fall and yours is about to rise.” There were many moments that threatened to lure me back into victimhood but he was adamant that I had not reached my zone of genius and has charged me with pursuing this course.
Mick has given me the gift of experiencing intense grief and I am grateful that I had the processes to get through a very difficult time. Now I have more to offer others who have experienced grief and can give them hope that there is a life still to live.
Last Tuesday I accepted a posthumous lifetime achievement award for him – the very talented Mick Hadley – and as I held it high, I told him that he deserved this award.
I am so grateful for the happiest years of my life spent with this wonderful man. I miss him so much! On my coffee table I have a book of poems he left me with the following inscription:
For me, there is no-where else to go. You are the enchanted castle on the top of a Disney mountain. A Magic place full of joy and love. I love you so much.
It is more important than ever as we age to look for our zone of genius. There was a time when I thought it was too late for me. I was in deep resignation. Now I know it is never too late for us in some way to find fulfilment.
I recently contemplated on this whilst filling in a workbook prepared by the “For World Peace” foundation. Their formula was Intent+Effort+Grace = Growth.
What is our intent for life; what do we hope to gain from it (love, happiness, security etc); what effort are we prepared to put in? Then after stating our intent, why we want it, and our committed effort , can we accept the “grace” to allow it to happen without sabotaging ourselves?
The photo was taken a few short months before Mick left and I promised him to keep doing the work we had planned to do together.
“Don’t die with the music still in you.” Dr Wayne Dyer