When my wife was offered a job to work as a school nurse for a Native American tribe in Arizona during the start of the 2020 pandemic, the big question was not how or if to go, but who was going to feed the cats. Change and the unknown were two states of mind we had grown accustomed to over the past couple decades. Several moves, career changes, fostering at risk youth and running a small business all contributed to a belief that doors are best left open. Besides, it lets the light in.
With a start date less than a few weeks away, there were several things we would have to consider, some thought of, most not. Truly, you don’t know what you don’t know.
Ever since she was a child, she felt a calling to work with indigenous people, specifically Native Americans. Over the course of a 25+ years in nursing, the thought would quietly drift into her mind, pausing long enough to spark her memory, but quickly whisked away by the inner emotional gatekeepers of safety and security.
But this was 2020.
As we all discovered, the winds of change blew hard, fast and unexpected. Disruption would not be denied. And so it was, with excuses bound and gagged, bags packed, we put Los Angeles in our rear view and headed for Arizona. Yes, even the cats had been miraculously provided for by the surprising return of our foster daughter who needed a place to stay. Some things you just can’t plan. This time the whisper won out over worry.
Temporarily trading the “comforts of home” for a travel trailer in an RV park, gave us an entirely new perspective on space, place, possessions, and the power of people connecting in community. With myself commuting nearly 1000 miles each week to check on things back in California, the unexpected gift of time and quiet reflection created much needed contemplation of life and the road ahead.
Fast forward 6 months. Compliments of COVID, soon after we arrived, the schools were shut down for the year and the school nursing position along with it. Shelley never did get a chance to work at the school with the children but was able to work in a facility on the reservation serving hundreds of families impacted by the pandemic. Like many front-line workers, she contracted the virus, recovered, quarantined and got back to work. Gradually, as the infection numbers dropped, so did the need for nurses on the reservation.
In the end, our open door led to an experience filled with life lessons and people more meaningful and impactful than anything we could have asked for, dreamt, or imagined.
Unplugged from the grid (and gridlock) of life back in LA, something sprouted out of the dry desert ground that would never had seen
the light of day through the hard packed soil of our former everyday routine. Even a long-held college friendship was rekindled sparking a partnership formed by old paths converging with the new.
What started as a whisper became a life changing experience that provided the inspiration for ALTER X Company and what we hope is a collaboration and movement of purpose shared and magnified by people like you.
Listen carefully and intently for the whispers in life.
Add to your life purpose a desire and delight in serving others outside the confines of your own comfort, convenience and control.
Take an honest and personal inventory of what you consume and why and how our choices impact ourselves, others and the planet.
Choose to live with less and you will have soo much more.
Don’t be in a rush to get where you think you are going. You might miss the greater gift of getting there.
Finally, enjoy the journey and be sure to bring someone along for the ride!