I just love birthdays. I’ve always felt that they are my own personal New Year’s. It’s a time to acknowledge everything – accomplishments, goals, setbacks, loved ones – by rejoicing in that extra number being added on.
I am still celebrating my 50th birthday, which was 6 months ago! I just love this new decade. I celebrated my birthday with two of my dearest friends in the world, Judy and Whit (Judy’s husband), and the love of my life, Kathleen, to recognize this milestone. Sitting at one of my favorite restaurants, I saw Judy walk in, her smile as radiant as it’s always been, her eyes sparkling with happiness and love. And it hit me – miracles happen every day. We just have to be ready to receive them.
I met Judy over 20 years ago because I took a crazy chance. In my mid-twenties, I had learned, after many years of serious suffering, to cope with my addictions to alcohol and food and released over 100 lbs. For the first time in my life I was at a healthy weight and no longer was using booze and potato chips to manage my emotions.
But I still wasn’t happy. For so much of my life, releasing weight had been a magic, unattainable cure-all; if I could only let go of my weight, I’d thought, I’ll finally be at peace. In truth, the years of low self-esteem and self-abuse had taken a lasting toll, one that could not be washed away with the pounds.
It was then that I found my first miracle, aptly named A Course in Miracles. The Course is a self-guided text that aims to help readers achieve peace. My dear friend Sharon led me to Reverend Matt, a minister at a San Francisco church, who turned me on to the Course back in the late 80’s. He spoke about the Course as a place of safety, forgiveness, and self-love, a place to come home. At the time, I didn’t even know what ‘coming home’ meant. And neither therapists nor 12-step programs could give me the spiritual connection that my soul longed for in order to heal. The Course provided this; it taught me that ‘coming home’ means owning my essence and being who I am; pure love, not the hostile voice that had taken over the truth.
The Course changed my life profoundly, giving me the tools to feel self-love and inner peace that I had never before known. I had such gratitude for having it in my life that I felt compelled to write a letter to Judith Whitson, the president of the Foundation for Inner Peace, which publishes and distributes The Course.
I sat down and poured out my heart onto the page, telling her my story and thanking her for her role in my coming home to myself. Wiping away tears of joy, relief, and appreciation, I sealed it up and sent it off. I didn’t even know if she’d read it (and I certainly didn’t think she’d respond), but I knew I had to tell her how I felt.
And then there was miracle number two. Judy called me up, invited me to come meet her, and offered me a job working for the Foundation for Inner Peace. There are no words to describe how I felt meeting her for the first time; let’s just say, I felt gratitude bigger than the sky and felt held in the arms of God. My just “going for it” led me to her, despite what my mind said about the chances of her ever reading my letter. Today, her friendship has been one of the greatest gifts of my life.
Judith Whitson is the same Judy who celebrated my 50th birthday with me. She is the same Judy who officiated my wedding to Kathleen in 2008, she is the same Judy I always call for advice, a shoulder to cry on, or just a good chat. All because I followed my heart and wrote her a letter against all odds that she’d have the inclination or even the time to write back. Her presence in my life is an absolute blessing – a true miracle.
Weight Release & Body Image Expert Laura Fenamore supports women around the world to love who they see in the mirror. Having overcome her own battle with addiction, obesity, and eating disorders, Laura released 100 pounds 25 years ago. She has chronicled this journey in her new book, Weightless: The Be Good To Yourself Diet. Learn more about Laura’s programs, or invite her to speak by visiting her website at OnePinky.com, her Facebook Pages and connect with Laura on Twitter.