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If you were to sit quietly for a moment and think of the times in your life when you felt most vibrant, alive, free and happy, what comes to mind?
What are your best and favorite stand-out moments in your life-time?
What are the qualities/attributes that these moments contained?
For me, it’s the moments when something surprising and unexpected happened outside of my normal routine – and this FORCED me to be present. It’s the moments where I felt connected, centered, clear and powerful. It’s times when I decided to take a risk, do something bold, reach for the stars. One time I was on a NYC subway (on my first week there in 1992) and someone threatened to kill me. I was standing in front of him and he was being quiet when he suddenly went completely and absolutely berserk, filled with rage and anger. Somehow he superimposed his ex-girlfriend onto me and talked to me as if I had left him and kept yelling he was going to kill me – stand out moment!
I think my most stand-out memorable moment – the one that takes the top prize – is when I made a decision to leave waitressing in 1988 and move from Stowe, Vermont to Boca Raton, Florida to go to college and get a bachelor’s degree. There are many MANY more stand-out moments because I choose to live my life in a way where things are constantly new – but this one takes the #1 top spot.
And my first semester in Florida stands out in my life like a bright shining star.
WHY IS THAT? What happened there that made that time so memorable?
It’s because I made a decision to do something completely brand new and wipe the slate clean.
AND THEN I WENT AND DID IT!
I didn’t just think about it. I took action. I was bold. I was fearless, even though I was terrified! lol. The Great Paradox!
Nothing was familiar … and that made me super alert and present which is a state of being of ALIVENESS.
My most alive moments are when I say:
I’M DOING THIS.
I DON’T KNOW HOW, BUT I’M GOING. I’M IN.
SCREW BEING STUCK. SCREW ACTING LIKE I’M WEAK & HELPLESS.
And then I go. I figure it out.
And once you access THIS PLACE and THIS POWER, you find out that you were the one keeping you stuck the whole time.
You discover that …
WHEN YOU MOVE, MOUNTAINS MOVE.
Everything you need suddenly becomes available to you.
When I moved to Florida, I didn’t bring the past with me. No one knew me. No one knew my history. No one knew my story. No one knew I was a party girl. I decided to start with a clean-slate and live life in an entirely NEW way – as someone who was an A student, who studied a lot, who worked out at the gym every day, who rode a bicycle everywhere and who didn’t drink (that did all change later, just fyi, and my party-girl ways did return, but for my first semester, I did everything in a new way)
Before then, I had gone to college in Burlington, Vermont and got as Associates degree in hotel/restaurant management. I didn’t take it at all seriously. I was a major party girl, with no clear-cut goals. I earned myself quite the repetition and everyone knew me as a fun party girl. I didn’t really want that life anymore, but I couldn’t seem to break out of that image, no matter how much I tried. I was known for being a drinker, a free Spirit, someone who goes with the flow. Everyone knew me that way. I slept late. I partied hard. I stayed out all night. I was hungover through all my morning classes. I did the least amount of work I could possibly get by with and I often had very little money, which I spent on partying, on drinks in the bar and on bottles of vodka with limes and tonic to go with it.
I had graduated from Champlain College by doing the least amount of work I could in order to get the diploma. I think my grades were C’s and maybe a few D’s thrown in there. I didn’t care. I was only interested in sliding by in life, doing as little as possible. That was my story and I was sticking to it.
So I graduated with an Associates Degree (which to me was nothing more than a piece of paper) and I moved in with friends in Stowe Vermont and got a job waiting on tables in a breakfast/lunch place. I wanted to keep my evenings free for partying. I didn’t have money for a car. Either someone gave me a bicycle or I bought a bicycle. I can’t remember which, but I know that my mode of transportation was a bicycle. I biked to work in the morning, about two miles away. I waited on tables until around 2pm and then I biked home. This went on for several months and I knew summer was coming to an end soon and that there would be snow and freezing temperatures and the thought came: Something needs to change.
I would either need to buy a car for the winter months and I was feeling like I was in a dead-end life with a dead-end job. I totally loved the friends I was living with – that part was great – I loved those guys – we drank and partied together and laughed a lot – but I was 20 years old – and I saw that this life I was living would not go on forever.
I had very little money, the few dollars every week from tips from my breakfast/lunch waitressing gig which went towards rent, and like I said: vodka. My grades from Champlain were terrible and I had zero credit. So I really felt like, how the hell do I move out of this situation? I had no idea.
But I got an idea one day that I could go back to college!
I got really REALLY excited. I biked over to the Stowe public library after my waitressing shift ended at 2pm and started looking around how someone goes to college to get a bachelor’s degree with no money and no credit and terrible grades. I thought: “It must be possible. Right?”
This was in 1988. Back before the internet and cellphones.
I found out that it’s super inexpensive to go to college in the state of Florida if I became a Florida state resident, which I could apply for after living there for 6 months! I could apply for student loans. I could get a job in Florida and go to school at the same time. I started to see that it was totally possible and totally do-able.
I wasn’t sure if I would get accepted with my grades, but I had to at least try!!
I knew that I would never get in if I didn’t at least fill out the application, write the essay and apply.
So the thing I needed to do was figure out WHERE in Florida I wanted to go. That part was easy – AS CLOSE AS HUMANLY POSSIBLE TO THE OCEAN AS I COULD GET.
So I found a map of colleges in Florida and I took my finger along the Atlantic, starting in the north and with my finger I traced the Atlantic ocean and BINGO: Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Florida!!
HERE I COME !!!!!!
And the rest is history. I got accepted to start in January 1989. I moved back home to mom and stepdad’s house to work a job with insane hours to make as much money as I could from September to December. Who was this girl??? Where was the slacker who was stuck? She was gone, gone, gone. I went to FAU. I had an A+ time. I got a job at the Marriott Hotel to pay for tuition, rent and food. I got student loans and I got a bachelor’s degree. And I got a stand-out memory!
I felt to share this story to get you thinking …WHEN IN YOUR LIFE DID YOU FEEL MOST ALIVE? Click To Tweet
What were some of the elements that the situation contained? Was it new and fresh? Did you make a decision to do something new? Was there an element of surprise? Was it a time of devotion and commitment? What makes it stand-out?
Post in the comments below and read what others have to say! Thousands of people come through this website each week and your voice and your story can make a difference in someone else’s life! So share from the heart and tell us how you show up! You never know who’s asking for prayer, seeking a change in their life and you can give someone the inspiration and encouragement to do things in a new way by your sharing.
So thank you for joining in this community and conversation!
And see if in remembering these moments makes you want to be a little more bold and curious and adventurous in your life now.
So that this next phase of your life becomes A STAND-OUT MOMENT FOR YOU.
Is there something you have been wanting to do?
Something you are afraid of?
Something you think is impossible?
GO FOR IT.
I look forward to hearing from you in the comments!
I LOVE YOU.
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Lisa Natoli is a healer, therapist and teacher of A Course in Miracles. She has devoted her life to healing, to inspiring people to reverse their twisted way of looking at the world and their twisted way of looking at themselves so that they know their True Self as One with God, as a co-creator with God.
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