Intro to my blog

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A Grand Life ~ Intro

Patrice Swenson 

PIC: JULY 4th, 2015 ~ Departed for my journey to the unknownA Grand Life, the story began the day I walked into work on May 12th, 2015...

I walked into work after returning from a sunshine filled paradise, called, the Dominican Republic. Living 52 years in Minnesota, I really had an appreciation for fun in the sun! When I walked into the coffee shop, my boss looked somewhat pale, and her face was missing that usual upbeat bubbly smile. Her eyes looked tired, her body language was tense, and her energy was anything but happy. Before she even said a word, I already knew, my life was about to take a major turn. "I need to talk to you in the conference room", she said quickly. There was no hello, and no, how was the vacation. I took my gut wrenching sick feelings into the back room with me, and sat down, as she closed the doors. My emotions were high; fear, relief, happiness, and sadness, played inside me, creating an orchestra of anticipation. I held back tears; not even sure why they were there. Without hesitation, she said, "I have to eliminate the manager position. I can't afford to pay you anymore! I know you deserve more, I'm sorry".

I had been struggling to get my Life Coaching career off the ground, and pursue my ultimate dreams of traveling the world, speaking and writing about living a happy and positive life, by using challenging situations as opportunities, and living in the moment to sustain gratitude and appreciation for life. I had made some tremendous steps toward my goals, chased my dreams, but was running out of money, when I decided to take the job as the manager of the coffee shop. Nine months of working outside my comfort zone, from 30 years as an entrepreneur, to working as an employee, had taken quite a toll on me, both physically and emotionally. 

As I left the coffee shop that day, and parted with no hard feelings, I knew it would all work out, even though, at this moment, I was un-prepared for the sudden loss of wages, and the numerous challenges that might present. I'm not ashamed to say, I had spent most of the money I made throughout my life, not foolishly, but practical; sustaining, and providing the best life I could, raising my kids as a single mom. I chose time over money, because I wanted to be with my kids every minute I could, as they grew up. I have no regrets. 

After a long walk home, that early day in May, I asked myself one question, and it turned my life around in a moment... WHY IS THIS HAPPENING FOR ME? A question I would ask all my clients, when they struggled to find a positive perspective, or possible opportunity. 

California was a place that lived in my dreams. I wanted to go there and experience life, where the sun shinned often, the ocean breeze caressed my face, and winter snow storms were rare. I imagined the thrill of adventures, and living out a dream. California is a place I had loved and wanted to live, since I was a teenager, full of life, dreams, visions, and goals. My life took me another direction, that provided much happiness, but California lingered inside me, throughout the years. 

Was it too late? "NO". I decided that day, I would move to California, and continue to pursue my dreams. I sold nearly every material thing I had, and decided to experience detachment from “things”, and live a simpler existence in the pursuit of my dreams. I didn't need a lot of money to make it happen, I needed motivation, and I was overflowing with it! 

Within two days, I began this journey, called, A Grand Life. 

What would living on a grand a month for 6 months look like? That was about the sum of money I figured I could come up with, after selling all my material things, paying off my bills, and travel expenses to California. My intention was to spend 6 months just traveling the coast, living on a Grand a month, pursuing a Grand life. I wanted to see what challenges, opportunities and experiences would be a part of my joureny. My plan for this journey was to not plan, to just flow, and see what I could learn, enjoy and discover about myself, as I lived a humble existance. A Grand life for me, meant taking a risk to explore the unknown, take time to be with nature, and allow myself to really be present, fully embracing what I believe most important to a happy life...living in the moment!

Some might say it was risky, to pursue my dreams on such a limited budget, and heading off for the unknown, but for me, the greater risk, was never to risk at all.

This blog is a collection of stories about that journey; A Grand Life.