MOMENTS IN TIME
“Man’s extremity is God’s opportunity.” - 2 Timothy 4:16-18
It was finally the end of another bleak and dreary day. The good news is that I survived the day and could plop down on the dirty cream velour sofa with a bottle of twelve dollar Chardonnay. In pure exhaustion, a cloud of bleak depression, stress sufficient to break my back, fear, and lets not forget anger bordering on pure unadulterated rage, I reached for the television remote control.
“Revenge,” an ABC Network show was on the tube tonight. This show was one of the bubblegum shows that I made a modicum of effort to watch weekly. I sat there, eyes glued to this superficial show like a mindless disciple, trying to numb my pain with the wine and mindless t.v. for at least the next hour.
On this particular mind-numbing event, I actually managed to have an epiphany. It suddenly occurred to me that I was not watching “Revenge” for entertainment purposes. Rather, I was using this intellectually-challenging night time soap opera to fuel my anger and my own revenge ideations.
Let me back up a bit.
Like many women I wear many hats. I have also had many different responsibilities over the course of my life.
Seriously. I worked in a book distribution warehouse, a bra manufacturing plant, a construction company, an epilepsy non-profit organization, and for a few different arrogant, if not disillusioned men ranging from a podiatrist, to a couple of insurance brokers, to lawyers. Immediately prior to marriage I worked as a paralegal/law office administrator for a couple of Orlando, Florida’s most high-maintenance sole practitioners. Needless to say, I learned how to manage issues…how to solve problems. I feel like I was kind of like Fran Moore in the 2001 Gene Hackman film, “The Heist.” “I’m the go-getter. You tell me what you want me to go get.” Except, for clarification purposes, I was a law-abiding go-getter.
When I married, I inherited the responsibility and title of “Medical Practice Administrator” for Trip’s (the hubs) community medical oncology practice. I remember the day my new step-father-in-law, Bill, who was Trip’s administrator at the time, learned we were finally getting married (after five long years of dating). Bill came to me with what seemed like a five-foot stack of four inch white binders and dumped them all in my arms essentially saying, “Good luck, I’m out.” And back to upstate New York he went. Basically leaving me standing there with a bundle of binders and a confused freaked out look on my face.
It took about year of me leaning on, “I’m sorry, I’m new here” to figure out the intricacies and nuances of managing and marketing a multi-million dollar cancer clinic. But God as my witness (in my best Scarlett O’Hara voice) I did.
Once I became comfortable in my new role as wife and rule of all things operational in the practice, I became unsettled, unchallenged, bored. I always wanted to be a lawyer, or rather, I always wanted to overcome my fear of lawyers (a totally different story). So naturally I decided to go to law school.
Three years of marriage and one nine month-old baby in tow, I started my 1L year at a little known private law school in the Appalachian mountains of Virginia. That first year was another episode of stress, but again that is a whole other story.
Suffice it to say, I transferred out of that school to Tulane University Law School in New Orleans at the beginning of my second year, because (a) that accepted me, and (b) because I’d finally convinced Trip to join a “team” of physicians that could support and help manage him.
After a year of nation-wide interviewing, Trip accepted an offer with a physician owned (red light) multi-specialty clinic in an up and coming town in Louisiana.
My intention, post graduation, was to hang out a wooden shingle with my name richly engraved in some fancy Charles Dickens-esque font, and start my our commercial litigation practice. It never occurred to me that I would never, or at least not to date, practice law. I mean, that private university tuition was a six figure education.
I used to tell people that I was derailed from pursuing practice through a series of cataclysmic events. But I now understand that life doesn’t happen to me, life happens for me. And the life that is happening for me does so because consciously, or unconsciously, as the case may be, I create it. But, I did not realize this in 2011.
Not long after graduating Tulane University Law School, the skills and expertise I’d developed in medical practice administration, were once again being called upon by Trip.
His practice, our family’s livelihood, had been devastatingly impaled by local and national medical politics, as well as the crisis in pharmaceutical costs and acquisitions, as well as the ever-deepening Medicare cuts (a/k/a “sequestration”) to physician reimbursement. Almost overnight we found ourselves hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt, unable to meet our personal financial obligations, much less afford the chemotherapy drugs needed to continue providing cancer care to our patients.
My world, my security, if you will, went upside down eight days before Christmas in 2011. Emotionally I quickly escalated from shock, to depression, to anger. In my anger, I identified a couple of individuals as the malevolent culprits "responsible" for my family’s financial crisis. Mentally I became fixated on getting back at the people who I believed threatened my marriage, ruined my financial security and peace of mind, and robbed me of my joy.
One evening, during this “storm” in my life, as I was working on a bottle of Chardonnay, and watching the ABC show, Revenge, I realized that I was not watching the show for entertainment, but rather for inspiration. It was in that moment that I realized that I could not continue to live in that state of mind anymore.
I at least knew enough at that point that when one goes out to dig a ditch for another person they need to dig two graves because we cannot take someone else down without also taking ourselves down. I mean, I really loathed and despised those hateful people for what they did to me and my family, but not enough to hurt myself in the process – at least not anymore than I was already hurting. Besides, despite my fine and upstanding legal education, I could not figure out a karma loop-hole. So, I turned off the TV and never watched Revenge again.
What I did do, however, is a complete 180 degree turnaround. I began a spiritual pursuit that led me to a quote spoken by Dr. Wayne Dyer that resonated like an epiphany for me: “We are not physical beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a physical experience.”
I mean, I’ve kind of been taught that conceptual idea in church as a kid, but it never really resonated with me the way it did now. Think about it. If we are infinite spiritual beings having a physical experience, then this dramatic and traumatic physical experience is, in the scheme of everything, nothing. A blip on the screen, a minor hiccup, a pebble in my shoe, easily removed with the right tools.
Over time, my perspective on all of my past experiences shifted and clarity, inner peace, and forgiveness replaced depression, stress, anger, and that unhinged desire for revenge.
While it was not easy or joyful by any means, our practice survived 2011 and 2012. And, at the end of 2013, we successfully transitioned The Oncology & Hematology Institute of Southwest Louisiana into what is known today as Infinite Health Integrative Medicine Center.
This new venture provides empowering motivational medicine for the body, mind & soul via Trip’s proprietary 4 Pillar Approach™ to optimized health and longevity. Today, men and women, from all over, (in fact, as far away as Chile) who are ready for more than what traditional reactive medicine has to offer, seek Infinite Health out. Trip’s patient-partners are achieving amazing transformational results, and we are impacting lives that would have never otherwise been reached had we not gone through the fire, so to speak.
In my limited, revenge-fueled spiral, I could have never conceived how that devastating day in 2011 could be the catalytic change required for the thriving, actually fun, and life-empowering practice we have today.
While continuing to fulfill my role as Practice Administrator for Infinite Health Integrative Medicine Center, I began my intuitive empowerment practice in 2013, after completing training in a universal laws-centric life coaching program, and thereafter honed my intuitive abilities.
I now have the joy of witnessing how my coaching clients have overcome their own extremities and are now equipped with the tools vital for a sweet peaceful life of their own. They now love themselves after years of self-loathing; their broken relationships are repaired; and they now extend more compassion and understanding to the most challenging of work colleagues. In addition finding new love, they have successfully discovered beauty, where once all they saw was ashes. They successfully cultivated lives that they love by attaining clarity and overcoming blocks and fears related to career transitions and/or entrepreneurial desires, and even achieved their health goals.
As the creator of my own sweet peaceful life, I am blessed on a daily basis by Trip, (married since 2003, dated for 5 years before that – a whole other story), and am also doted on with warm hugs and kisses from my three fab children, affectionately known as L-Belle, IV & Huck.