Tess’ story will leave you inspired, in gratitude and moved to take action in your own life as she shares her diverse and courageous journey with us. Each one of us can be happy, we simply have to choose it. Each one of us can find joy no matter what, and Tess exemplifies for us how she has done it over the years, and continues to do so to this day.
My journey of awakening and personal expansion
When I was 17 and pregnant I married my boyfriend Roger. When I was 22 years old we were parents to four daughters. My third pregnancy was twins!
Roger had two and sometimes three jobs to support us. Besides raising the girls, I went back to school and began a flower business from home. Our lives were crazy and out of control.
Recognizing this, we attended parenting classes and spiritual growth classes that our church offered. Someone recommended therapy. We committed for 6 months and made major changes in how we related to each other and our children. We went on and off for years and I tribute this to the reason we’re married today.
One of the things I did for relief was play softball on our church team. The priest at our church often practiced with us and we became good friends.
At the same time I also decided to quit smoking and replaced it with running. This gave me a positive emotional outlet. Roger and the girls soon joined me and together we entered road races on weekends. It continues to amaze me how this change effected the physical health our family!
My Inspirations and Influences
Father Don convinced me to enroll in college part time when the twins entered kindergarten. This was a major turning point. I was one of ten children and only one other sibling graduated college.
I had an insatiable thirst for learning and growing spiritually. It was nine and a half years before I graduated with my Bachelor of Arts degree. At the time my daughters were in high school and I knew immediately that I wanted to go to grad school for counseling psychology. Two years later I began working as a psychologist with a specialty in substance abuse.
My friend Kay introduced me to a book, A Course in Miracles: The Text, The Workbook, The Manual for Teachers when I was struggling with parenting my four teenagers! Roger and I attended a study group and made several new friends all on the same spiritual path. ACIM teaches inner peace through forgiveness. It also teaches that a miracle is a shift in perception.
Some of my favorite lessons are:
“There is nothing to fear.
I can see this differently.”
“I place my future in the hands of God.
Let miracles replace all grievances.
I am not a victim of the world I see.”
“My mind holds only what I think with God.
Love is the way I walk in gratitude.”
Students of A Course In Miracles are referred to as happy learners. Don’t you love it?
Today I know if I’m unhappy or don’t have inner peace the problem is in my mind not with anyone else. Applying the daily lessons helped our marriage stay strong and got us through many difficult situations.
My Positive Life Changes
Soon after I was introduced to ACIM, Marianne Williamson authored, A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of “A Course in Miracles”. I read it, called Roger at work and said, “I just finished reading Marianne’s book, I could have written that book!” He said, “Tess there is nobody stopping you from picking up your pencil!”
I believed him and from that conversation, my book, “Flying by the Seat of My Soul” was born. I self-published and have received so many emails, cards and letters from people telling me how much my book helped them make changes of their own. I also share uplifting and bold tips for others on my blog The Bold Life.
Eventually my counseling clients wanted business advice from me, which eventually led to life coaching. I also began speaking professionally to both businesses and women’s groups.
With counseling I helped people on a deeper level, one on one. With speaking and writing I can reach a bigger audience and don’t spend all my time in one chair anymore.
It was our dream to live in a warmer climate someday. We moved from Michigan to Arizona two years ago. We said good bye to our family, friends, businesses and support system. It took more than 25 years to finally make the move.
Miraculously a year before we left, one daughter changed careers from a teacher to a flight attendant for Southwest. Because of this we can fly free anywhere in the US whenever we please.
The other people who have impacted me the most are my family. In January 2009, we celebrate our 38th wedding anniversary with Roger. Roger has given me a life time of support. He has always believed in my dreams.
Our daughters and their families have given me incredible opportunities to grow, the biggest lesson being how to love without conditions.
My grandchildren have offered me a love like no other. They fill me with joy from head to toe! I have no regrets.
My Next Steps as an Evolving Being
I work for God. My job is to show up, have fun and do as much good as possible for as many people as possible everyday.
My Advice to Others
I would encourage everyone to do their part in making the world a better place. We place too much emphasis on how much money we make. When we put our emphasis on how loving we are, everything else falls into place.
It’s important to focus on what is right with our world. The media would like us to believe we’re on the verge of destruction, but I disagree. When we rid ourselves of fear, we rid the world of fear as well. Any change we make within will be noticeable without.