Flowing with Change


“The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.” – Alan W. Watts

My life has been composed of two divergent parts, almost as if I have lived two incarnations in one lifetime. The first part was a rock ‘n roll lifestyle – I had a musician husband and we spent most of our time partying and drinking and drugging. We didn’t have kids by choice, and were self-indulgent and hedonistic. We had fun but I also clearly remember feeling shame often, when I woke up, as I barely recalled events from the night before, when I over-indulged and often either blacked out or fell asleep.

A horrible memory is of forgetting to pick up my sister and her new husband at the airport from their honeymoon trip to Jamaica. My worried mother kept calling, and I purposely didn’t answer the phone, letting the answering machine take over. I remember how it felt to be so counter-culture, that I wore shades at dawn, heading home after a cocaine-induced evening, while commute traffic headed the other way, normal people on their way to their jobs.

My parents had divorced when I was in my teens, and I never intended to let that happen in my own marriage. Then, I ended up going back to college in my mid-30s and my husband and I got sober during that same time. I was shocked to find out that we had little in common when we were straight! Really not many similar interests at all without over-imbibing, and we both felt restless and bored, and our marriage began unraveling.

So, even though I often resist change in my life, preferring the status quo, as a few more years went by, I began to realize it was time for a change. A big change! And I came to realize that even though I resisted the idea of divorce, it was inevitable if either of us were going to find more happiness and contentment in our lives. Even though I struggled emotionally with the prospect of divorce; even though my husband and I had 24 years of memories and love for each other; we both made the choice to change our lives completely, and break up.

Here is where my second incarnation began.

I had always been a spiritual person at heart – as a child, I recall grappling with the idea of infinity late at night, actually scaring myself imagining how everything goes on and on and on. Or attending a Catholic Church with my girlfriend Julia and loving all the rituals. Even as a young girl of 7 or 8, I would ponder the meaning of life and what God is.

As my previous life shattered, and quite a few people had mentioned a nearby Center for Spiritual Living, I finally attended at a low point during the dramatic unfolding of the new life I was creating. The open philosophy spoke to my heart and soul, and I began attending regularly. The Center offer many spiritual tools to uplift one’s life, and I began taking classes, eventually becoming a licensed practitioner after years of study. Slowly, I began to realize that we are each responsible for our life choices and I began choosing positivity, to let go of drama, shame and blame, and to improve my own life in beautiful, beneficial, nurturing ways.

During all of this change, I met a man who became my second husband, who matched me on many levels. I decided to further change my life dramatically by opting to move to rural Southern Oregon from the hustle and traffic of the Bay Area, CA, where I had spent the first 45 years of my life.

This was a wondrous, amazing new change in my life! 15 years later, I still marvel that I live in the beauty of forests, mountains and rivers, which remind me of a national part. Right now, I am looking out at our vast meadow with evergreens adorning a nearby mountaintop. I am immersed in nature’s beauty here. And it suits me so well, as I lived in the country as a young girl.

These days, I still attend a nearby Center for Spiritual Living and I serve as a practitioner there, which is so fulfilling. I teach spiritual classes, exactly like the ones I was introduced to during the big change of my own life. I facilitate retreats and workshops on gratitude, as a pathway to more joy and peace in our lives. I am an author of the Grace of Gratitude Journal and will have a chapter in two upcoming 2015 books, The Energy of Expansion and The Energy of Creation. My artist partner, Tara Thelen, and I are also creating a Grace of Gratitude Journal Vol. 2, which will be published in 2015 as well. Everything about my life is rich and rewarding. This second incarnation is where I am meant to be, and how I am meant to express.

I see now that my soul and my spiritual light were darkened and snuffed out by my addictions. I know now that I am a bright light in this world, and I have an abundance of love and joy and peace and wisdom to share, which could not have ever happened had I not chosen to take a leap of faith, and allow change to sweep over my life in such a monumental way.

Photo by tim

14 thoughts on “Flowing with Change”

  1. Deborah, that’s an amazing story of your life. It’s crazy how we truly find ourselves after coming out of darkness. I too can relate with significant change and starting over essentially. Awakening to my “best life”. It’s so important that we tell our stories so others can equally have the courage to believe and stand up for themselves, even after suffering tragedy, whether through self-infliction or being a victim of others.

    Thanks for sharing.


    1. Hank, I really appreciate your comment. This blog was a bit scary for me to write, admitting to such darkness in my earlier life! I so agree that by sharing our stories we can help wake up others. Thank you for your sharing too, and your appreciation! Blessings, Deborah

  2. Love your story. I find that while I LOVE change, there is always an adjustment period where I am absolutely uncomfortable and terrified. Yet, as my heart has moved me in a new direction, I can’t go back. It’s a thrilling experience and I love how you displayed it in your life. Thanks for sharing.



    1. Tara, I absolutely agree with you on the fear/even sometimes terror aspect of making big change. I used to resist change, i wanted to stay in my comfortable cocoon aka comfort zone rather than being willing to emerge as a beautiful butterfly. Takes courage to embrace change! But i find it is always worthwhile and amazing! Thank you for posting — your own blogs look deep and powerful, and i will read them more thoroughly soon.

  3. All change is not growth. But, I would say that your changes are definitely growth. It is evident that you are expanding and blossoming. Congratulations.
    “Change has a considerable psychological impact on the human mind. To the fearful it is threatening because it means that things may get worse. To the hopeful it is encouraging because things may get better. To the confident it is inspiring because the challenge exists to make things better.”~ King Whitney Jr.

  4. Hi Deborah,

    Wow! That’s quite a journey.

    I was fascinated by your relationship comments. I found through many of my earlier relationships that the early days were based a lot around the social element, so drinking became a norm. Eventually that isn’t sustainable, and the cracks appear as you have to connect without, as you said, ‘over imbibing’.

    It is so important in relationships to be able to connect without external stimuli, and ‘sober’ time is critical early on. Too many people get caught up in the warm fuzzy alcohol induced feel good factor and then later try to paper over cracks. Sometimes, as with you, it is best to realise it for what it is and go separate ways.

    Great post and best of luck to you

    1. Keith, i appreciate what you added to the conversation re: making sure a person is compatible without drinking and/or drugs. Really important! Thanks for your comments! Glad you enjoyed.

  5. Incredibly inspiring post here. I definitely would say I’m often also a resistant-to-change type person, but change can lead to wonderful insights. Thanks so much for sharing your story!

  6. Thanks for sharing your story, Deborah. I too survived the darkness that once was my life, having spent most of it battling the green-eyed monster of depression. Through spirituality, my soul healed and in the process awakened my true self. And although it took almost fifty years to reclaim it, I count myself among the lucky ones. And I agree with Hank…that we must tell our stories. It’s never too late to change and be who we’re meant to be and live the life we’re meant to have.

    1. Pat, it does sound like we have similar pasts..i’m glad you were able to become who you are truly meant to be too…and i am so thankful for my spiritual path!
      And for my story being well-received here too. :)

  7. Change is hard and i’ve always have had a hard time letting go when i need to. This is a very inspiring post and I need to let things take their course, so i can grow as a person and become the person I am meant to be. I hope i receive my spiritual path eventually!

    1. Dear Morgan,

      Thanks so much for sharing. I know if i could find my spiritual path, after all i’ve been through, that you can too! It took me almost 50 years to become the person i was meant to be. Be persistent in your desire to grow and change and i know you can and will.


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