Written by: Marie Hernandez, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
In 2015, unexpected and painful changes were thrust on me in a nanosecond. Have you seen the movie “Meet Joe Black”? In the first 1/2 hour, Brad Pitt meets the girl in the diner, they part ways, he goes to cross the street and BAM, a car wipes him out! That’s how quickly and violently my life changed!
One day I was planning a trip to the Maldives to spend a week being wined and dined by sponsors, and the next, I was staring into the abyss of an unknown and uncertain future.
Two months before, I had my 50th birthday. I was on a natural high. I had started my own business, been getting lots of notoriety for it, was interviewed by the travel editor of CBS, Peter Greenberg, who flew 10,000 miles to do the interview in person and was married to who I thought was the love of my life.
At first, the thought of starting my life over, at 50, in a way I hadn’t planned, was terrifying. I couldn't stop asking myself, "Why was this happening to me? What had I done to deserve this? What hadn’t I done?"
Typical thoughts of resentment, anger, feelings of failure, loss, and betrayal overwhelmed me. I felt suffocated by it all.
I curled up, pulled the covers over my head, and didn’t want to face reality. If I didn’t acknowledge it, it wasn’t real, right? If I stayed in bed long enough, with the curtains drawn, and ignored the issue, it would go away, and things would be as they were.
The pain and embarrassment were more than I could bear, and I decided that after all the failure, as a mother, wife (after all, this was my third marriage), friend, daughter, and human, I just couldn’t go on.
I poured the contents of a bottle of sleeping pills into my hand, grabbed a glass of water, sat on the edge of my bed, and cried. I cried for my children. I cried for the lost opportunities. I cried for all the people I had let down. I cried for myself.
As I stared down at what I thought was the answer, I heard a voice. Now, I know what you’re thinking. This sounds like a movie, and I guess it does, but this voice was as real as yours and as loud as if someone were sitting next to me. As a matter of fact, I looked over to see if someone had actually come into the room without me noticing.
The voice said, “You’re not done.”
I’ll be honest. I was frightened, first by the pure “realness” of the voice and then by what it said.
I got up and flushed the pills, climbed back into my bed, and cried nonstop until I fell asleep.
After two months of barely doing more than sleeping and watching mindless television, with puffy eyes and a face that looked like I’d going a round with Mike Tyson, I decided that this way of dealing with life wasn’t going to get me the answers I wanted or make my problems go away.
I had no choice but to deal with it all, and as hard as it was, I did what I could to cope.
I found my way back to the U.S. and spent some months going between my family. I had given up my home, so they were my support system in those early days.
I read lots of self-help books, watched hours of Tony Robbins videos, took several of Gabriel Bernstein’s online courses, and spent weeks with a wonderful life coach.
Skip ahead a year and a half, and I did what I needed to embark on a healing journey. Having gone from my childhood home to my marriage home and back to family, I'd never been alone. So, I knew that I needed to spend some time with just me.
After all, if I couldn't stand alone with myself, how could I expect others to?
For reasons I still don't understand, my heart was drawn to Italy - specifically Tuscany.
After a bit of back and forth with different Airbnb owners, I found myself sitting outside a beautiful mountain top villa in a small village called Buti.
I spent three months wandering along tiered olive orchards, getting lost in local small villages, drank gallons of delicious wine (I'd never enjoyed wine before and now I can't live without a good Italian red!), enjoyed morning cappuccinos with sweet pastries and most importantly learned to love myself.
I did do the hard work that I needed to feel whole again, but I attribute much of my healing to the traveling I did in Italy. The culture, people, traditions, and cuisine of a country can help mend your soul.
Because these people didn't know me or my past, I felt the slate was cleaned, and I could write a new story, create a new, true, healed me - and I did. I got back to who I really was. I did things I really loved to do. I felt alive, charged, and creative.
Am I finished discovering who I am and what I want…hell no! But the journey is the best part. Discovering what I want and doing exactly what I want, where I want, with whom I want is an exciting place to be.
I’ve forgiven those who’ve hurt me and realize that I have to be thankful for my experiences with them, although they are no longer a part of my life because it’s lead me to this place, this time, this time, this me.
I’ve mended relationships with family and friends in a way that I wouldn’t have been able to do had I not learned what I have. I’ve accepted a new, more open way of seeing the world, not to judge or care if I’m judged. I just let things be.
I’ve found joy in places that I never thought I could, and with people I never thought I could.
I’ve discovered things about myself that I didn’t know, and I’ve reached a level of self-awareness and love that I didn’t know was possible. I am me…but better!
Along the way, I’ve drawn to myself the most amazing people and experiences. I continue to work on myself, but I also celebrate what I’ve learned about myself. I’m pretty damn great!
The best thing about this healing journey is that I’m excited about the rest of it! I’m curious about who I will become, who I will meet, and I know that, regardless of what happens, I’m the creator of my life, every single minute of it. I’m the one who determines my happiness.
I’ve also accepted and embraced the fact that, although my heart was broken and scarred, when the time is right, I’ll love again. He’s out there…somewhere…manifesting me…
My greatest passion for my life is that I continue to inspire other women who are faced with sorrow, pain, and uncertainty to reach within and find their own power.
I’m 55 and find great joy in the fact that I've helped so many people overcome their pain and realize their own passions.
The business and life I've created continue to grow and surprise even me!
I continue to travel. I continue to return to my heart home, Tuscany, and one day will call it home permanently.
I’m pretty freaking excited and hope that you, the reader, follow along with me. And if you find some inspiration in my story and journey, then I’m thrilled to pieces about that and consider my life totally successful!
And, if you decide to work with me - well damn..we'll create magic together!
Dream big, reach for it all, but most importantly, LOVE yourself and all your imperfections. It's the cracks that let the light in…
Marie Hernandez, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Marie Hernandez is a women's empowerment and digital entrepreneur business coach. After a devastating divorce at 50 that left her jobless, 10 thousand miles away from family, with 16 cents in the bank, she knew she needed to rewire her thinking. She has dedicated her life to the service of women who want to become empowered to alter the course of their lives.
The owner and CEO of Marie Hernandez Coaching, LLC., she travels, lives, and works globally and offers women’s empowerment coaching programs that help women 45+ bridge the gap from where they are to a place of love and strength and live any life they choose.
Download her free workbook "Rewrite Your Life Story," which will help guide you to understanding the lies we believe and shift your mindset from limited to "anything is possible."