Zion Nat'l Park, Columbine

Revive, With Gratitude

The last HeartMatters newsletter was titled, “On Closure, Softly”. I wrote it in June of 2012, and sent it out to the masses. My email inbox filled with responses commenting on the sensitivity with which I wrote of the journey towards my surrender—of stepping back from HeartMatters, my Coaching for Optimal Health consulting practice. Here’s the link for the story, so you can get the background, if you’d like: http://heartmatters.pro/updates/closure-softly

It is my hope now to write with that same sensitivity, as I welcome the revival of HeartMatters. Substantial life changes have occurred in the past one and one-half years, bringing insight and deepening gratitude into every day, that have liberated me to fully embrace a slower, more meaningful manner with which to move about my day.

We’ve moved from our beloved and closely connected community in Northern California to “the heartland”: Evansville, Indiana. After much soul-searching and research, my husband and I decided that what was best for us professionally, and more importantly, on a personal level, was to close his medical practice. John had been in private practice as a Cardiologist for 24 years—and it became apparent to us that our extremely busy pace of life was being dictated by government regulations, reimbursement cutbacks, and so many of our patients having lost their insurance or being under-insured…we were struggling to pay the practice overhead while maintaining a break-neck schedule to meet the needs of our patients and colleagues. We allowed ourselves to wonder if this was truly the life we were meant to live, and this exploration led us to other options. At the end of June 2013, we came to Evansville so John could look at a job within the Veteran’s Administration system. The opportunity for him was ideal: Monday-Friday, 8-4:30 in an out-patient clinic, with no on-call hours, no hospital procedures and all weekends off! What an amazing change from what he had been used to!  We made our departure announcement within our community in early July, we were able to transition our patients and staff to a group of trusted colleagues, and on August 30th, John left for Evansville!

I orchestrated our move, the closing of the medical practice, the wrapping-up of our lives in the town in which we’d lived for nearly 30 years. We had many poignant moments saying goodbye to our loved ones, as well as our patients, many of whom had become like family. Not to mention our long-time staff members, who were family…there were many tears, celebrations, and send-offs. We left feeling fulfilled personally and professionally and were eager to see what our new life would bring.

So many people talked about “how brave” we were to be taking such a leap. They wondered how we’d manage the change in politics, food awareness, climate, and if we’d be able to make new friends who were like-minded thinkers. I wasn’t feeling brave, I was feeling exhilarated about the possibilities that this huge life change would bring.

What I’ve learned about myself through this experience is that I am truly an optimistic person. I anticipate the best outcome of any situation. I embraced this adventure with an open mind and simply love what has come into my life thus far. In Evansville, Indiana of all places!

I’ve been liberated from a “day job” schedule. I am able now to volunteer in ways that are deeply meaningful to me, and with time that—previous to this move—I could only wish for. Due to the variance in the cost of living in the heartland versus California, we are able to sustain a gracious and smaller-footprint lifestyle on John’s salary. Oh my. For the first time in my adult life, I haven’t held a full-time job. Amazing. What a gift!

Research before leaving California led me to Urban Seeds, a small group of committed parents (of wee-little kids!), who endeavor to bring food awareness to the Evansville community. Side note: Indiana is a central location for factory-raised animals and conventionally grown produce. A lot of chemicals are used in agriculture here—a fact that is alarming to many—and, Evansville has a high percentage of citizen’s with obesity and type 2 diabetes. The members of Urban Seeds are making slow inroads in this community to create opportunities for change around eating local, sustainably cultivated produce and animal products. I am now a proud member of their Board of Directors and look forward to contributing to their ongoing success.

As well, I’ve taken a BOD position with the local food co-op. It’s a fledgling store in a rickety old house, that is filled with positive energy and forward motion! There’s a speakers series that I’ll become part of, community promotion for shopping and eating local and away from the big box that I can get behind, all in addition to supporting the cooperative model of commerce.

I’m savoring quality time in our new kitchen, transforming love and joy into delicious meals. I’ve reconnected with my meditation practice and watch the winter birds come to our feeders. I walk with the dog. I write. I sit.

The initial professional endeavor I will pursue is a proposal to Mayor Winnecke to present “lunch and learn” workshops for the city employees and administration. Perhaps a 3-part series to focus on eating well, small-step positive behavior changes, and quieting the busy mind… This type of connection to community is one that is familiar to me, and one with which I can share my knowledge of and passion for living a balanced life.

Hence, the grateful revival of HeartMatters. My foray into the world as a woman with the time and the desire to give to others.  Stay tuned!

"The Holiday Survival Cooking and Eating Class exceeded my expectations. It was so enjoyable to learn new ideas for healthy snacks and meals, taste the delicious treats we created and leave with an inspired hope that this will be my healthiest holiday season yet! I am impressed with the knowledge and care that Robin (and Wendy from In the Kitchen) both possess and I look forward to taking more classes in the future. Thanks again!"  --Rose M.   “What a wonderful, yummy class! Not only did we participate in creating several easy-to-make, delicious, nourishing dishes for the holidays and every day, we also learned strategies for surviving and enjoying the upcoming holiday season. Both Robin & Wendy were delightful and imparted their cooking and eating knowledge with love, humor, and enthusiasm. I highly recommend their classes to anyone who is interested in developing a better way to look at food, using thoughtfulness with mindfulness to learn some very valuable strategies for eating any time of the year!” --CAM   “I found the class delightful with great ideas for the holidays. In the Kitchen is a warm and welcoming place and you and Wendy were great teaching collaborators. Good new recipes. I appreciate your healthy eating information. I recommend this class to anyone wanting to enjoy the holidays without stressing over food. Actually, the information isn’t just for the holidays. I want to stay healthy all year and eat well.” --Pat B.   "I’ve participated in several classes at In the Kitchen, enjoyed them all immensely, but it is always a special treat when Wendy teaches a class. The recipes offered in The Holiday Survival class were easy to make and so delicious. And what a plus to have Robin co-teach the The Holiday Survival class with Wendy. Thank you, Robin, for all your great information on healthy eating, which was delivered so professionally, dovetailing beautifully into Wendy’s presentation. Hope you two team up again for more classes of scrumptious, healthy recipes. What a fun evening!!" --Carol B. _______________ I love this positive feedback! How gratifying it is to touch the lives of others in a meaningful way…and to be able to do so around a topic that is so dear to me, is just the icing on the cake (right—pun intended!). Wendy Van Wagner and I will continue to offer seasonal cooking classes in addition to the occasional specialty class…stay tuned!
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