As I write this post, I am heading to the mountains for a much needed vacation with my family and close friends. Six adults. Four kids. One house. Not quite sure if that's a recipe for relaxation, but it's definitely going to be fun. Speaking of recipes, recently I had the opportunity to meet and work with Food Network star and Queen of Southern Cookin', Paula Deen. I was asked to field produce a video shoot with Deen inside her home in Savannah. The awesome guys at Go To Team landed the job and called me in to assist. What fun! Of course, I couldn't resist the obvious photo-op. Thanks to GTT's Tom Wells for snapping this photo. Cheese!Deen's personal story inspires me. Behind her blue eyes and big smile is a history of pain. Before the bright lights and fame, Deen was held captive by the dark grip of a disorder called agoraphobia, which can be simply described as a fear of public places. It's hard to believe that a woman who radiates such a powerful life force was ever afraid of anything. But she was. And that fear nearly paralyzed her.
Deen says her thinking finally began to shift one morning as she recited this prayer: God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
Deen recalls, “I can tell you about that morning I got up—I can take you right back to the very spot I was standing in when that Serenity Prayer went through my head. I finally accepted my mother’s death, my father’s death, my death, my children’s death—everybody that I loved—because dying is a big, big part of living; ain’t none of us going to get out of this alive. I accepted that.”
And in accepting that... Paula Deen started living.
Deen's story reminds me of the hard, but important, lesson I have learned on my own journey. The path to happiness, success, and fulfillment is not always linear. We don't have to always do the "right" things in the "right" order. It's okay to question where we're headed, to re-evaluate our choices, stay still, or choose to move in a new direction.
We each have our own paths to walk, and sometimes we will feel lost without a GPS. But maybe, just maybe, if you're out in the wilderness... that's exactly where you're supposed to be for now. Allow yourself to listen to your heart, acknowledge what your soul is saying to you, and gather up the courage to go your own way.
We aren't all destined to be celebrities, but we can take a page out of Paula Deen's book: let go of what we can't change, embrace what we can, and discover our own unique place in this world.