I used to get excited, a lot.
If I got to draw, I practically danced with excitement.
If I got to meet new people, I could scarcely contain my enthusiasm.
If I got to fly, my excitement quotient soared!
People who have worked with me, who have seen me “in action,” will readily testify to my exuberance. Sometimes I tire people out. I was once labeled the “energizer bunny.” I could go from 7am until 2am powered by a consistent high level of positive energy, all WITHOUT COFFEE!
Then something happened. In the last two years, I’ve been laying low. I stepped away from public speaking. I stopped writing, I stopped hosting workshops, I cut back on my networking events and happy hour socials by 80%. I scaled my travel back considerably, leaving San Diego maybe only once a month. I stopped chasing. What caused this 180º shift? Adrenal fatigue? No. Major life stressors decided to have a convention in my life. The precipitating factors include several traumatic events: divorce; the subsequent sale of my house; two major moves; considerable loss of wealth; deterioration of my health; death of loved ones; and the pressing awareness that I have two young boys to raise without any assistance.
In short, I burned out. The fire in the old Mel got snuffed, extinguished, and was decidedly doused.
If I get to draw, I enjoy the process.
If I get to meet people, I feel delighted but not wildly excited.
If I get to travel, I feel content but not overwhelmingly zealous.
While in my survival mode holding pattern, I became an observer of my life, actions, and momentum. And through that observing, a new fire emerges: One that is sensible; One that dismisses shallow conversations and activities, comparisons of wealth, dishing over who is wearing, building, or raising what or who’s into who. This is maturity. This is the putting away of childish things and assuming the mantle of responsibility and the staff of journeying. If I were to describe it, I would say it feels as if I have been awakened to a new sense of awareness. That intuitive way of seeing and knowing, which some classify as the third eye, has opened wide. I feel reborn, and view the world in a whole new way.
When motivated people fly at supersonic speed, it is not always easy for others to detect turbulence in their flight path. People who have known me, who have known the unsinkable, irrepressible Mel Lim, who have experienced the full-on creative cacophony of my effervescent spirit might say that I made this shift to a new paradigm look easy. But I can tell you that this process of rebirth has been the most painful process I have ever experienced.
I often tell people that I’ve lived five lifetimes. I’ve worked an average of 120 hours a week since I was 19. I put myself through school and supported my family for a very long time. I’ve both lived in the ghetto and enjoyed the high life of luxury. I’ve built businesses and buildings, and traveled extensively. I was married for 16 years, experienced childbirth twice, and lived through three bankruptcies. I’ve lost both parents and my wise elders. And somehow I still retain a cheerful optimism.
Essentially I’ve lived a full life, the resume of which recounts deaths, births, failures, successes, riches, poverty, abundance, and scarcity. Each event delivered its own poignant lesson. These lessons have not been lost on me. I have now fully embraced them. Their cumulative alchemy distills to simple yet important principles for living that inform my awareness in every moment: live openly, authentically, generously, unapologetically, and always be guided by compassion and love.
You may have heard the expression that when the student is ready, the teacher will appear. I think sometimes when we are going so fast in our lives that we are not paying attention to what is really happening or being asked of us, the Universe finds ways to get our attention and wake us up. Sometimes these are rude awakenings. Would that we could all benefit from other people’s experiences so as not to stumble headlong into our own unpleasant kerfuffle.
That said, I hope your mind is ready for some new awareness with only this gentle prodding. Yes, we live in a fast-paced world, but if you can slow down enough to digest some of the essential wisdom contained in the following recommendations, who knows what marvelous mayhem might occur. You may find the leaden doors of old patterns blasted cleanly away from your being and discover you are embarking on an entirely new path of perceptions and ways of interacting. It could be life changing and immeasurably enhancing.
If you are like I was, and find that you are always questioning the whys, your purpose here on this planet and in your profession, your place in your family, the depth and integrity of your friendships, your role in community, or are trying to discern your true self, here are some books that you may find beneficial:
I wish you wisdom, and the time and grace to awaken to it.
Love — Mel