Aurelius Press is all about forging connection amongst people. This connection is based on “the story” – your story, our story, your client’s story. Thus, I’d like share a bit of my personal narrative here, which will help illuminate what ultimately brought me to Aurelius Press. While the details are unique to my specific experience, it is my hope that there are elements of my tale that many of you will find familiar to your own journey.
FIVE (5) years ago, I arrived in Israel with 3 suitcases, a lap top, a cat and the wrong husband.
I had, for the previous 5 years, been fighting a long, protracted and demoralizing immigration battle to bring my husband back to the United States. Not only was it a very challenging case, but the one official in charge of reading and deciding our case let it sit for two years before arbitrarily deciding he just didn’t want to read it. Which meant another legal action on my part – just to get the person to read and decide.
Of course (in retrospect), the decision was NO. Which ultimately led to a last ditch attempt to bring my husband and me together in the same place so we could finally begin our life as a married couple – 5 years after we were married. Israel allowed us to do that. So, after about a year of planning, I gave up a 10+ year job, my home, and my entire support network of loved ones.
I flooded even more financial (I’d already gone bankrupt) and emotional resources into making my marriage work, and arrived in a foreign land, knowing only the Hebrew I’d learned in grade school. With no work lined up. No people connections. But I was gonna make this work! I was going to show “them”! I’d already poured everything into this mission of getting my husband back, one way or another, one country or another. I was going to make it happen, against all odds. I was going for broke. For love!
Turns out, once we had the opportunity to live together for more than 2 weeks at a time on vacation in a Central or South American country, it became very clear that we were not the right people for each other. Not only “not right” – but very, very WRONG. I’ll spare you the gory details, so let’s just say it involved a heady (and now right-there-glaringly-in-my face) mix of emotional abuse and manipulation, dishonesty, unbridgeable cultural gaps, disrespect and complete loss of self-esteem. Certainly, not love. Within 6 weeks of finally coming together on the same soil, we were done. DONE. After all that…
There followed many a plea from loved ones over Skype from 5,000 miles away to “Just get on the first plane and come home… Your job will take you back… You only went there because of him, so there’s no reason to stay…” You get the picture. My immediate, superficial reaction was that I couldn’t go back because I was just too ashamed. Horrifically mortified. After all that time and effort, people expected a happy ending. People who were so supportive (even knowing we were wrong for each other), people who helped us financially… I couldn’t face them. I couldn’t bring myself to let them down with my epic failure.
And yet, there was something else (besides embarrassment) – something deeper – that made me stay to find out what would happen. I wasn’t sure what it was at the time, but now I get it. One of my friends and former colleagues, a wise man (and sometimes a wiseguy!), Gary Monti, lovingly and repeatedly asked me the question, “Who’s the one person who’s always present at every problem you have?”
And I ultimately had to accept the notion of an old quote that Gary likes to reference:
Wherever I go, there I am.
And thus began my “hero’s journey” – alone in a foreign country with no job, no car, not knowing enough of the language, no support system, savings dwindling, a broken marriage, trampled self-esteem, and racked with shame and disappointment.
Gotta start somewhere, right?
Stay tuned for what followed…
Do you have your own story about things falling apart and your plans going awry (and what you did after that)- personally or in business? If you’d like share your story on our blog because you think it could help others and build connection, please feel free to contact Jennifer (also our Blog Editor) at firstname.lastname@example.org