If you’re following me on social media or reading my blog, you will know by now that I have been enjoying reading Beth Kempton’s book, Wabi Sabi: Japanese Wisdom for a Perfectly Imperfect Life. There is so much within this book which sang to me, creating a strong resonant vibration, that I’m doing a series of blog posts as a way to further assimilate these passages.
Here’s another example of something which has deeply touched me:
“I am proud of the time I have spent raising my children, but I want something for myself now that I am older.”
Wow. This sentence is still swelling in my heart like the overture of a Mozart sonata.
From a time long before my children came into my life, I knew I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom. It was one of the things that attracted my husband, Ivan, to me, in addition to all the usual things. We both wanted our children to have a parent in the home, not working, while they were growing up. It was a Misner Family core value.
Along the way, I knew that I would stop working in the day-to-day operations with Ivan in BNI. I had thought that would be easy to do, since one of my goals from the time I was nine years old was to be a stay-at-home mom.
Was I ever surprised when I found myself tearful when he would board flights to attend BNI National Conferences, leaving me at home. It did not seem to make sense to me. I mean, this was what I wanted, right, to stay home with our kiddos? Yes, AND, it was still difficult. I saw other women in BNI rising to the place I had been in the company, teaching, training, mentoring, and making their mark on our business. I was jealous.
I longed to be able to make my mark on BNI, too, but I really did not know how that was going to happen from home while paying the corporate bills, editing the newsletters, and sending out emails to radio stations to seek bookings for Ivan to be interviewed. These are the kinds of things I did between 1991 and 1998. It felt like busy work. I was in the background when I had once stood at my husband’s side building our business together.
There were days Ivan would leave for the office, and I would stand at the door with a crying baby in my arms and a whining toddler holding onto my leg. I have to admit, I was also crying. Imagine if it was confusing to me, how confused Ivan was. I don’t think he understood at first why I was not completely contented with the “mom” hat. I know some of you reading this get it right away.
So, we talked about a way that I could be a bigger part of BNI that would allow me to still be a stay-at-home mom and not compromise an important role I really did want to fill. We also had grown the company to the point where we had a fair amount of income that could be used philanthropically, another Misner Family core value. The BNI Foundation was launched in 1998, and I was the founding director, a position I held for nearly 20 years.
While it gave me a more fulfilling and rewarding position within BNI, running a non-profit was never a burning desire for me. I am much happier in a role that allows me to vision cast, to inspire and encourage, and to share from the things I have learned. Running a non-profit involves a LOT of administrative work, and admin is NOT my strong suit. Let me tell you just how grateful I am for our talented, focused, and committed Board of Directors. There is a lot of what seems like busy work to do, but which is critical to the success of the organization, but all of that part of the “job” is not what gives my life meaning and purpose.
Fast forward to today: my last child left home seven years ago, and I have slowly been getting back on track of “having something for myself now that I am older.” I wanted to become a chiropractor after I graduated from college with a Liberal Arts Degree. I did not pursue a chiropractic degree at that time, because I knew I would be taking an 18-20 year furlough to raise children, something I am truly immensely proud to have done. Instead of going to chiropractic college now, I am becoming a medical Qigong practitioner in order to offer this aspect of Traditional Chinese Medicine to those needing to heal.
This is my “something for myself” that fulfills me. It satisfies my yearning to be a conduit for healing. And while it is not something directly related to our company, BNI, it is something I am able to do to serve the leaders in our company. I’m able to offer Tai Chi/Qigong/Meditation at our semi-annual and global conventions for BNI Directors, as well as teach classes locally in my community, lead Qigong at others’ retreats, and work one-to-one with people who are on their own healing journeys.
And that feels really rewarding. I’m in my sweet spot.