Today’s post on ‘being ready’ was contributed by Merry Lynch Pavlak, an ex-pat living in Poland. I love her fascinating point of view! Enjoy, darlings.
Sometimes we are placed in situations and we have no idea how got there. But there we are, feeling overwhelmed and wondering if we actually are “ready.”
It’s been a long journey. I’m a 66-year-old wife, mother, grandmother, sister, and aunt, all wrapped up in one — as many of us are. My husband and I began a journey of a lifetime eight years ago. We had an idea. Why not go see what the rest of the world has to offer? Seemed reasonable. A question many people our age are asking themselves. What next?
A New Beginning
The journey took us to many different countries. All with amazing, embarrassing, joy-filled, exhausting, and beautiful days. In the end, we settled on Poland. A country many Americans don’t even have on their radar screen.
It’s a beautiful country with many hidden secrets. I wanted to discover something, in me. This country and its people had been through so much, and yet they welcomed me with open arms. This is even though I don’t speak their language, understand the metric system, and have never ridden on public transportation.
We settled in a city named Lodz (pronounced Woow-g). Though it happens to be the city where my husband was born, he was dead set against moving back to Poland. For him it was entwined with the memories of communism and a brutal and gruesome story of his brother’s murder by the Nazis. It was something he had to overcome.
A Piece of Home in a New World
After settling in and purchasing a forty-five square meter apartment… downsizing on steroids… I began to look for friends and decided to try volunteering at a local university. Wildly enough, when I walked in the front door, straight ahead of me was a sign for the “American Corner.”
Was this a coincidence? I wonder about those things sometimes. Of all the places in the world we could have landed, we moved right next door to a university with an American library.
Excited, I walked right in and introduced myself. The director asked me if I would help in building an English-speaking community. I jumped at the chance. The University of Lodz is an international university, students come from around the globe. Many of the classes are taught in English.
The English conversation meetings at American Corner were filled with people from countries that I really had never heard of. Not to mention, I certainly had no idea of their customs, cultures, or religions. It was fascinating!
Being Ready to Stand Up and Say Yes
With the success of this program, they asked if I would facilitate workshops for women. Together we created a group called the Young Women’s Leadership Group. We weren’t sure what we would do but it was a start. By training and profession, I am a human behavior specialist and a transformation trainer and a life coach. My background was in leadership development.
It was fun and kept me busy. I was meeting with young women and helping them find their path. In many cultures, your parents dictate what you will study and, ultimately, what you will do with your life. This was a foreign concept to me and one I had to learn to accept. And also work through this with the young woman that would find their way to the American Corner.
A New Challenge
This year, the Director asked me to facilitate a five-week program called Empower Her Future. I was thrilled at the concept and jumped at the chance to challenge myself with something new. Though I didn’t know exactly what to expect, I knew it would be rewarding and I was totally on board. The program begins February 2nd, just a few short days away as I write this.
We had twenty-five spots available, all the room would hold. The seats filled up in two days. I was sent the roster of women that would attend, aged between 18-35, either students or career women.
These twenty-five women are from seven different countries. As I viewed the list, I could feel my body tense. Was I ready? I asked myself this question over and over again. I was excited and overwhelmed at the same time.
Am I Ready For This?
The world is in a bad place right now. Good vs evil looms heavy on the horizon. I live a short ten-hour drive from the front lines of a war. Was I ready?
The women are from Ukraine, Poland, Serbia, Russia, Mongolia, Azerbaijan, and Yemen. I asked myself again, was I ready to facilitate conversations between literal war-torn countries?
- Was I ready to set aside my judgments and criticisms and come from a place of nurturing?
- Was I ready to lead discussions of empowerment and personal growth?
- Helping women to release their pain and stories of the past and present, so they can step into a brighter future?
I have worked all my life for this moment. Am I ready?
Have you run across a time in your life when you doubted yourself? When part of you wanted to jump in head-on, while the other voice in your head said to run fast in the opposite direction? I’d love to hear your stories in the comment section.
If you enjoyed this story, you might enjoy the blog The Art of Bending With Empowerment.
Hi! I’m Merry and I specialize in igniting human potential.
We all have dreams, and it’s my professional passion to help you achieve the life you’re dreaming of. Through vision boarding, 1:1 coaching, or my unique in-depth life envisioning courses, we’ll get you started on your brave new second act in life. Find me at BravingMidlife.com