Here’s to New Beginnings!

For the first time in…well, ever…I am sitting in the unknown—and it actually feels good. 

I’ve come to the realization that I’m closing an important chapter in my life, and I’m getting accustomed to the in-between space that always ushers in a new chapter.

What I’ve realized, most of all, is that nothing is as I had once expected it to be. For years, I had visions of finally becoming an empty nester and having all six of my kids out of my home. My husband and I also shared the intention of moving into our dream retirement house and enjoying the second half of our lives in comfort and serenity. Finally, based on the grand ambitions I had for my business, I expected to see Women For One expand and grow in substantial ways.

Now, here’s the reality: With COVID, several of my kids are back in my home. The dream house that my husband and I have been working to build for the last four years is delayed—and while we are set to move in at the beginning of January, a series of challenges and setbacks have made it unlikely that the home will be properly finished. We don’t have an estimate for when that might happen. And despite a number of powerful gains and growth within Wf1, it’s clear that my heart isn’t connected to the strategy that’s been guiding my organization for the past few years. 

So, with that said, something’s gotta give.

We all know the saying, “We plan, God laughs.” It’s clear that it’s time for a massive shift, but it’s not going to be the one I’d been planning for all these years.

As I move more deeply into my 50s, I feel myself welcoming the grace and wisdom of cronehood. For me, this is all about surrendering the idealized images that had determined my “next phase” and what I imagined my rites of passage into my later years would look like. But as the crone teaches us, life never ends up the way we think it should be. This doesn’t mean we were insufficient in planning or that we just need to try manifesting our desires a little harder. It just means we need to take a pause, breathe, and let go of what we believed needed to happen in order to welcome the gifts that are surely awaiting us. 

Throughout our lives, we are indoctrinated with the idea that when we finally “get there,” we’ll be happy, successful, or (fill in the blank with your desired state). I’ve told myself that I’ll finally feel a sense of freedom and purpose when the kids leave home, when I have my dream retirement house, and when I hit success in my business…but as I’ve come to learn, all of this is truly an illusion. Life keeps teaching me to embrace joy exactly where I am right now—in the messiness of it all.

I have truly learned that when I come into the space of reality, fully present and awake to what is actually happening, I can achieve the clarity I need to determine what needs to happen next—that is, where I really need to go, versus the “shoulds” of my idealized images. Until I can surrender to the truth of the now, I will always be stuck—not just in confusion and indecision, but in the distortions of my idealized images.

One thing that 2020 has made abundantly clear to me is that, no matter how much I wish and yearn for the way things used to be, that’s a recipe for delusion and disappointment. 

None of us can ever go back to the way it was. And that’s a good thing!

Idealized images freeze us in an imaginary landscape of the way things should be, which can make us feel helpless and frustrated in dealing with our current reality. 

I’ve been pondering all of this as it becomes clear that my vision for Wf1 has dramatically shifted. As I reflect on how the last decade has been about making huge investments in my business, despite the direction I believed I was going, a deeper wisdom is revealing that everything has to change. 

I am open to what that might look like, because I know that trying to make things stay the same is a losing battle. While I still remain committed to helping women release their truth into the world and share their most important stories, I’m  still searching for new models and paradigms to inform me of what that might look like. I’m no longer in a rush to make any final or absolute decisions. I know wisdom comes from stillness and a process of collecting all the information I need in order to make a conscious, intentional decision.

As I cultivate the energy and knowledge that are necessary to take Wf1 into its next phase, what I do know for sure (as Oprah always says!) is that I am deeply grateful for the last decade! This platform has given me the chance to connect with beautiful souls, to seek and find truth, to hold space for vulnerability, to learn about myself and my fears and strengths, and to gain wisdom from the incredible heart and courage of so many women from generations past, present, and future. 

Your Truthteller stories have given me joy, purpose, and passion. They have also reassured me that in some way, Wf1 has encouraged women in crisis and fear—as well as the ones just dipping their toes into speaking, writing, and sharing their truth.

As I look forward to what comes next for me, my intention is to continue serving women like you—those of you who yearn to live lives fueled by truth, transparency, and grace.

So my wish for you, sister, is that you continue to dream big and dare greatly.

As old doors are closed with reverence, respect, and love, may new doors be flung open onto possibilities you may never have dreamt of. May you welcome change and allow it to shift your perspective so that you can clearly determine your “what’s next.” May you continue to open your heart to your number one: YOU. Most of all, may you love yourself—the beautiful woman who is so much bigger than her idealized images and visions of how things “should” be. The one who deserves to step up, speak out, and shine in all her messy brilliance.

Happy 2021!

Big Love,

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About the Author | Kelly McNelis

Kelly McNelis is the founder of global community, Women for One, a speaker, coach, facilitator, and bestselling author of Your Messy Brilliance: 7 Tools for the Perfectly Imperfect Woman. With more than 25 years of experience as a nonprofit and small-business consultant, Kelly empowers generations of women around the world to build the relationships, community, and confidence they need to achieve their wildest dreams. She finds daily inspiration in spending time with her husband and children in her home outside of Seattle.

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