Kristina heads back to Ithaca in a few weeks. We’re all pretty comfortable with that. She’s happy with her school, she had a successful freshman year by every measure, and she’s ready to move back into her dorm apartment.
This time last year looked a little different. Kristina was excited to be going to Ithaca, but didn’t really know how that would look, and had a healthy dose of nerves and excitement about it. There was the scramble of collecting the things she thought she’d need for her dorm room, doing all the last summer/ Seattle things she’d get to do for a while, and saying her goodbyes.
I had my own nerves and excitement. As ready as we all were for this transition, as good and right as it was, as truly happy as I was for her, as long as we’d been preparing for it – this time still held loss and sorrow and a little grief.
And I was okay with that. That was normal, and to be expected, especially with how close we are. (Kristina and I fancied ourselves the Gilmore Girls, even after we made a family with Ed.)
In the midst of that time, Karen Walrond of Chookooloonks – I’ve
mentioned raved about Karen more than once here – developed a course called Path Finder. She opened registration and invited her community to join her for her first online course, starting Labour Day, the Monday after I would fly home from Ithaca.
There was a list of reasons: I didn’t have time. I already had my own plans and projects for the time after Kristina went to college – a LONG list. I was clear on my path. I didn’t want to take a course just because I was afraid of missing out. I was comfortable with this transition. I wasn’t afraid of empty nest – Ed and I had never really had couple time, so this was going to be our time. I didn’t have time to even think about taking a course, there was so much going on.
I just didn’t want to.
Or did I?
After announcing the course, Karen wasn’t sure what would happen. Would people come? They did, in droves. Spots filled quickly, and Karen posted that she would be closing registration earlier than expected, so that it wouldn’t be unwieldy. By this time, I was in Ithaca and Kristina was comfortably ensconced in her dorm room, stocked with everything we could think of.
The day before leaving Ithaca, I went on a little photo walk around the town, called Ed, had a little cry while sitting in a park, and wandered back to my hotel before meeting Kristina for dinner.
And suddenly realised that I really wanted to take the Path Finder course.
More than tackling my list, I wanted to do something that was internal – about me and for me. Karen described the course as being for those in transition – personal or career or other – or simply for those who wanted more awesome in their lives.
I gave the course time and energy and focus and it was phenomenal. At times, I was overwhelmed – I have found this with most online courses – there is simply a lot of material (that’s a good thing), and I wanted to really dive in. I have also learned that I can pace myself – either I can do the activities as they come in, in my own time, or I can jump around and come back to things as I am ready.
For someone who likes do things in order, as they were intended, that was a revelation. When something is self-paced, it really is possible to do it in whatever way works for me.
Path Finder worked for me.
I thought I had this stuff figured out: I’m in my 40s, I know what I care about, what my passions are. I have a gratitude practice, I am at home with my journal and my camera. I deeply appreciate the good things in my life.
So, what did Path Finder offer?
A new way of looking at my life, my passions, and the things that light me up. A new way of describing what I am about. A new filter to help me create my best life in everything from the day’s to-do list to life’s biggest decisions. And a community of like-minded folks on their own path to creating more awesome in their lives.
Karen is a brilliant course leader: kind, compassionate, encouraging, funny, brave, personal, wholehearted. The activities and exercises were interesting, compelling, and fun – requiring only and exactly as much time as an individual is willing to give.
My initial resistance might have kept me from all of this.
Karen is offering Path Finder one more time this year, maybe for the last time. Registration is open now, for the course starting 27 August. If you have any curiousity about this, any draw to take it, I encourage you to dive in*.
September has always felt like the new year for me, between school starting and my birthday. I have some exciting ideas for new projects, and renewed commitment to ones that have been on the back burner while we’ve had health and injury problems, chez scatterbeams.
This year, Kristina will fly out to Ithaca and move back into her apartment on her own. Well, maybe not entirely on her own. She has a lovely roommate and a great group of friends who have dubbed themselves Friday Night Family. She has found her tribe.
I will stay here in Seattle.
And as I regain my health, I will get creative. I’ve found my path. I’m ready.
*No affiliate links here – this is a personal testimonial. I’m just that much a fan of Karen’s work.