Season 1: Episode #2
What makes a hero?
According to Philosopher and Scholar Joseph Campbell, a hero is an archetypal figure who takes a journey from his or her ordinary world, goes out on an adventure, through a decisive crisis wins a victory, then returns home transformed with gained wisdom to offer others. This podcast features inspiring stories of real people on the Hero’s Journey and the pivotal moments that changed the course of their lives forever.
It 's important to never give away your power. And what do I mean by power? I mean, you don't give away your own right to live a joyous life. Joy doesn't come from circumstances. It comes from inside.
I’ve known Robin Fischette for many, many years, as you’ll come to find out. I’ve watched her rise and fall and rise again. Like a phoenix from the ashes, her spirit refuses to give up, even in the face of her world crumbling apart. May you be challenged and inspired as you listen to this Hero’s Journey. I’m Belinda Lams and this is The Moment When…
Robin Severn-Fischette is a multi-faceted entrepreneur and the proud mother of 3 beautiful daughters and 2 awesome son-in-laws. Her background as an actress and singer landed her 2 albums on the BMG record label. She co-founded and developed Go West Creative, producing live events and media for high level clients. Her Nest Development Studios houses ventures, which develop start ups, intellectual property for all media platforms, and production and consultation for non-profits.
How do we know each other?
For life, we know each other because we are sisters. Do you think people are going to be able to tell the difference in our voices? Just realized that might be a problem.
We can just switch roles and nobody would know. So, you are my sister and I've known you since you took your first breath. That's pretty amazing. How many people can you say that about?
Not many. Your siblings, your parents.
I know you and I don't know what you're going to talk about today which is really fun and exciting for me. So, let's start with your ordinary world in the hero's journey terminology. What was your life like before things started changing?
Well, my life was a mixed bag, both blessing and hardship. My family life was extremely busy. I would say the hallmark of my life or personal struggle if you will, was an overly busy, very harranged, very stressed life. I was working so hard to be excellent at everything. I had a belief system in me that I needed to be a Renaissance woman and to me that was a pinnacle of success, like if I'm this really wonderful human and this great woman, I can do it all and I can do it all well. trying so hard to keep up with my husband who didn't say no to anything or to anyone. And so, I had convinced myself that I had to do that too, that I wasn't enough if I couldn't do it all and keep up with him and do as much as he did.
I wanted to be the consummate wife and mom and community church member, doer, I wanted to be the best cook, I want to do the best events and parties, I wanted to be the most creative designer, event designer, and an entrepreneur, wanted to be the most in-shape and the best-dressed and you know just all of it. The good news about that is I was embracing life. In a lot of ways I wanted to really live and take it all in. The downside of that was that I was absolutely exhausted. My adrenals had been burning out, my thyroid was going off, my body was always tense, my shoulders were always on my ears and I didn't even realize it because it was normal. Honestly stress or being harried, I kind of considered that a badge of honor.
Robin’s call to adventure began when she hit a wall. The years of her “normal” stressful life had finally caught up to her.
It started with rashes, sleep issues, and then all of a sudden my joints got attacked, and one morning I got up and I couldn't get my feet on the floor, they hurt so badly. I couldn't walk and it took hours before I could get my feet to work. I had locked up from head to toe and that scared me pretty badly. I didn't know what was going on and it took a long time to get a diagnosis or to unpeel what was happening to me. I started running around to doctors to try to figure out what was happening. It was my skin, it was my joints, it was it was so many things that I didn't know what was leading to what. It became especially confusing because I was beginning to exhibit signs of peri-menopause. So, everything little by little started to unfold and like I said, it took me about three months to kind of figure it out.
As her body broke down, Robin began to be aware of underlying issues beneath the surface of her symptoms.
There were two things that really kind of woke me up at that time. One, was I could tell that my closest person in my life, my husband was disinterested and lacked care for me during that time. He didn't even ask what was going on or how I was doing. It was like totally disenfranchised and that blew my mind like do you not care that I'm hurting? I mean, what if I have cancer? I didn't know what I had. And the other thing that woke me up was, one of my last visits to a dermatologist for the skin conditions. I was asking him questions and my mind would just go down the rabbit holes of fear and so I was probably shooting them out at him like a machine gun. He basically looked at me, staring at me and said, if you don't calm down, no amount of medicine is going to help you.
I had several doctors that would say, well maybe you need to go on antidepressants. And I'm thinking I'm not depressed, why is that an answer, why does every doctor go to antidepressant? I've got physical problems here. So, it didn't make sense me but after he said that, I slowed down and I took account and I realized that I had really spiraled out of control in accepting that stress was the norm instead of realizing that was something I needed to manage and reduce activity to fit into what my being could handle. So, I had to take off that little badge of honor and realize and start asking myself some really, really tough questions.
The moment when can show up in various ways. Sometimes dramatic. Sometimes subtle. For Robin, it came as a series of wake-up calls that she must change her life and that there was only one person who could do it.
The first thing I had to decide in that moment was how do I want to live now? If everything that I've been doing has led me here, what has to change? And how do I want to live from here forward? And I realized I don't want to live the rest of my life sick, sad, lonely, and heartbroken. I did not want that to be my story, so that was the moment I decided I've got to do whatever it takes to be well and figure out what that means. And I knew that the only person who could make that happen was me.
I had been living in the paradigm that it was my husband and my life’s demand, that all this demand that was on me from him, from work, from the community, from my children, that was my duty. I was a victim to duty. I had that mentality and what shifted in me in that time was going, wait a minute, I've been in agreement with this. I've made agreement with it, do I have to or is my first responsibility to be well? Because if you're not well, you're not going to be here and you're not going to be able to have the duty to anyone. So, that was that huge pivotal shift for me that went okay, no longer can you be miss sacrificial. Now, it's time to take care of you and do it right and show your daughters what that looks like.
I was depleted and I didn't have the emotional availability either to anyone because of that, right? So, I wasn't even able to be that excellent wife and mom and friend and worker that I desperately wanted to be and I was working so hard at being but when you're depleted in every way you just don't have it in you. I didn't have the ability to sit and just be with and listen deeply and because I was rushing to the next duty. I did view taking care of myself as selfish. I wouldn't champion my own heart in anything. It's like no, no, no I can't do what I want, that's selfish.
Robin’s paradigm started turning on its head. This led to more fundamental questions about the thoughts and beliefs she had held for so long. What if they weren’t exactly true?
I went into a lot of questioning at that point. All the things I thought for sure were right like, but this is right, like I have to do it, it's right. I decided to suspend and choose to stay open to, ‘well, maybe it's not all right. Maybe the way I'm even relating to it isn't right. It may not be that the ideas are wrong but maybe the way I'm engaging or interacting or relating to the ideas aren't working.’ So, that was the suspense I put myself in in order to learn and shift instead of just being staunchly married to my own thought patterns. Because clearly, they weren't working, they brought me to there to where I was.
I’m Belinda Lams and this is The Moment When…Today we’re talking with my sister Robin Fischette about the pivotal moment when her seemingly normal lifestyle started to take its toll. As her body was shutting down from stress, she began to question how she had gotten to this point. And what would she need to change in order to have a different outcome. Her story continues.
Two of Robin’s three daughters were off to college and her husband planned to travel for an extended period. So she determined to make a new choice toward healing instead of stress. She and her youngest daughter Tori decided to spend some time in the healing balm of Hawaii.
So, that was like my first big change of like, I'm going to do something different and I'm going to slow my life down, extremely slow it down. I let go of everything, I took a sabbatical from work. We got in a plane, we went to Hawaii and I did yoga every day. I changed all my eating, I worked with a naturopath there, I read books, I took walks, I meditated. And my life went from harangued and busy to a screeching halt. And it took me probably a month to unwind. But one of the most significant things that I noticed that changed in that time was that my shoulders were no longer on my ears. All the knots that I carried all the time for years and years and years and all the chiropractics that I had to do as a result of it, just kind of disappeared and that blew my mind. I got rid of everything like no caffeine, no alcohol. I just went into purification mode it's like I'm gonna start over.
You got reborn.
I did get reborn and one of the practices that I did begin at that time was meditation. Essentially, what I learned a great technique which is just to suspend thought. So, basically while I was doing yoga, the gal leading it gave me a mind picture that really works for me. She said okay, while you're laying here on the grass, while I'm suffering, they're laying on the grass in Hawaii looking at the ocean. So I looked up and she said, ‘I want you to take your thoughts and I want you to lasso them and I want you to throw them up into that cloud and I want you to see like okay, there they are, there are your thoughts they're floating in that cloud. They're just fine. They'll be there for you and as soon as you need to get them down ,you can get them down any time you want. But for now, I want you to just leave them in the cloud. And that was the first time I understood what it means to rest your mind. You just rest your mind, you let go of thought, you stop processing. And I did not know how to stop processing, I am such an analytical person. I process 24/7 almost even through my sleep. Ask anybody who slept next to me, I chat.
Ask all the guys at the bar down the street.
(laugh) Delete, delete. Edit Edit. (laugh) Yeah no I I'm a talker in my sleep and I just processed non-stop so it was such a great practice to learn and it’s amazing what that little respite for your mind can do for your body too.
I learned to live in peace. I spent so much time striving and ambitious and I still have that in me. It's just part of how I'm wired and I have a deep desire to be purposeful with my life and to make it count for something, for something good. And so, letting go of that for a minute and just realizing that, you know what, it's okay to rest, it's okay to just be. Like, I'm okay, I'm okay, just breathing and just being on the planet. Sometimes, that actually can be a greater gift to the people around me than the striving and the ambition. That was a big shift in my thinking because here I am with my beautiful daughter and just choosing to enjoy her presence and just be present was a new way to engage life.
Every Tuesday night, we had tacos, Tuesday night tacos, taco night. At this little joint right next to our little apartment where we were staying in and so it's across the street from the beach. So, we walked out on the beach and sat on the sand together and she knew I was down, struggling with depression. My hair was falling out and that's not a fun thing for a woman. I couldn't figure out why my thyroid was off and I didn't know how bad it was off. It's like everything was off, And so, I was feeling sad and then feeling guilty for feeling sad when I should just be enjoying my time with her. I was missing my husband and feeling isolated and she just did the cutest thing, she pulled out her iPod and stuck it in my ears and she had made a playlist for me. I'm gonna cry saying this. But the playlist was all about building me up. It was all these cute songs that talked about, you just don't know how beautiful you are. And she didn't say a word, she just played the songs. And then I got it, it clicked, I went, she's trying to tell me something. My daughter just wants me to know that so she can know that too that that it's okay for her to know that about herself. And, so I heard it and I cried and I hugged her, you're so cute.
And that was a big responsibility shift for me too to just go look, ‘I have a responsibility to love myself and love my life because that gives my kids permission to do that too. And what good does it do me to tell them that all day long? You can say it all you want but ifn they don't see it in their mom, they’re not going to own it for themselves.
The love of Robin’s girls provided impetus to shift and continue on the path of healing. She found herself in a small women’s study at a church on the island. The topic: anger and how it can manifest in your life. Though never identifying herself as an angry person, she discovered that she was holding tremendous anger toward herself, which leaked out onto others in bitterness and resentment. Now it was time to learn to let it go.
Well, my first step was to journal and try to honestly answer questions about my own anger. And my second step was to make amends or apologies to anyone I felt like I had wronged or were hurt by my anger, especially if I was holding resentment or unforgiveness toward them. I apologized for that first and foremost to my husband because that's the hardest relationship in life is they’re our mirror and so I could see in that mirror that I didn't like a lot of things about myself. And I wanted them different but I was desperately trying all the time. I think part of that shift was going, you know what? You're actually not that bad.
I saw how that was impacting my kids too. Like cuz I’ll pointing out every one of my flaws and I think they could live the rest of their life never hearing one of them again and be happy. It's like okay, there's some of us in life that don't see any of them and then there's those of us that focused too much on them. And both of them are narcissistic in nature. It just shows up differently, this is where it shows up for me and I need to get out of myself in that way like forget it just move on in action and capitalize on what's good. Focus on what's good and where you're strong and where you can really offer great things to the world and where you feel really pretty cool about who you are. Focus on that for a change.
Did the anger and the resentment let go or what happened?
It took time. At that stage in part, the anger, the resentment was fading as I was beginning to take ownership that I was the one living with it. Right? It was up to me to let it go, no one else could do that for me.
But also the reality of my life and the disenfranchisement in my marriage was still present. So, what was going on currently was painful. And the past had gotten us there. So, it wasn’t possible for me to completely step out of that in isolation but I was just trying to handle it differently, like not let it tank me, not let it make me sick, not beat myself up anymore. It was like a one foot in front of the other experience. It just, I'm going to continue making small changes every day that make my life good and happy. I'm going to take on what I can take on and let go of what I can't. And my relationship as well, like I'm going to be honest, I'm going to make the changes that I can make. I'm going to do my very best to speak my truth and not add or take away from that, not blaming, just speaking how I felt. And it didn't matter honestly at that point because we had gotten to where we had gotten together and he had to go on his own journey to figure out how to shift that. And I couldn't do it for him. I could only do it for me.
I think the resentment, the walls, the hurt, the betrayals had gotten too big. And so even though I was outwardly the offended party, he had been unfaithful to me, I had tried to forgive him and move on and now he was the one always running away if you will, kind of trying to escape the relationship rather than sow into it. So, you know, at that point, he determined that separation was the only way that we were going to get better. I disagreed with that because I know the statistics and where that leads and I felt like how are we going to learn to be together apart because our problem is being together. We're always apart. Our problem isn't separateness. Our problem is togetherness and intimacy. So, that solution did not make sense to me but he was determined and adamant and in that determination what I realized is it doesn't matter even if we tried the togetherness, he's not going to be satisfied unless he leaves. So, I said so be it.
So, I let it go and that was the first act of surrender like really surrendering. And in that time, I did my second journey. I would call this the second leg of my what I was calling, my Eat, Pray, Love journey at the time. And I thought if I'm going to change my life, I'm going to really change my life.
And change it she did. Robin encountered 4 major life changes all at once: she became an empty nester, she quit working with her husband in their business, she moved out of their house, and she was officially separated (though hoping to somehow restore her marriage). The painful ending of a long chapter became the beginning of the next…
Then I had an amazing thing happen. My friend from London called me and said, your room is ready. I said what? She said, your room is ready. Come anytime darling. I'm like, ‘are you kidding me? I'm coming.’ She's like, you're coming? I'm coming. Can I live there? Can I live there for like three months? So, I made a decision and I packed my bags and after I tucked my youngest daughter into her new college, did her room for her, I got in a plane and I went to London. And I lived there for three months and I traveled and I went to Africa and I served in her foundation, called Global Angels. And it was one of the most beautiful experiences of my life. Everything that was happening externally was a blast but internally I was hurting a whole lot. I was really sad, I really missed my husband, I really wanted us to work it out so desperately but I was trying so hard to just let go, to just surrender it in every way and believe that God would meet me there, you know if our life together was the best thing, that it would happen. That if he really wanted to fight for me and love me, that he would do it. And I needed to know that and see that to be able to continue on in that relationship. And unfortunately, he did not. He chose not to and that was my next huge wake-up call and the beginning of the end.
So…she reluctantly filed for divorce with no contest from her husband.
And it was probably the hardest thing I've ever done in my life. I remember having a dream that I was falling off a cliff backwards with my arms open, like I had let myself go off the cliff. It was like suicide feeling but believing I was doing it in faith, believing there was gonna be a net that was gonna lead to my freedom. And ultimately, it did. It was the beginning of remembering who I am, reconnecting with myself, recovering myself and reinventing myself. And it has not been an easy process, but it has been a freeing process. The road of mourning is what it is. It takes the time it takes and I'm sure everybody's experience in that is different. But there are some similarities and there's some timelines that are close.
Caterpillars become butterflies...only after a period of seeming death and destruction. They spend time in a dark chrysalis where they transform into their next evolution. This cocoon phase cannot be skipped because that is where the colors, the wings, and the potential to freely fly are formed. And though it may appear to last forever, it will surely be released into new life.
I think one of the learning curves for me or one of the transformative moments was recognizing that my marriage and my family was my cocoon. And that's not all bad, that's not a bad thing. When I think of that I think of this place of warmth and safety and I think in many many many ways I hid behind my husband. But that also became something I had to break out of because it was also a cage at the same time and I felt that all the time.
I even had a dream one time, this was so weird. But I had a dream that I was stuck inside his skin and I was trying to break out of his skin. In the dream, it's like that clear translucent weird like a balloon and I'm pushing on it and I'm trying to get out so I can breathe. And I thought wow, is that not a sign of enmeshment. It's so bizarre. It's like I can't find myself apart from you. So, that that shell, that cocoon, while it was providing safety and warmth and familiarity, it was also keeping me from being fully alive. So, falling off that cliff and breaking out of that skin were the things that gave me the ability to spread wings, to grow wings and find them again.
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Today we’re exploring how the body can reflect a deeper message, how past choices lead to present reality, and the power we each have to change our course toward a life we really love…with my guest and sister Robin Fischette.
Although her marriage wasn’t restored, Robin found a new badge of honor and that is to honor the life she’s been given by remembering who she really is and what she is here to do.
Before I was a married person, I was just me. I came that way and I'm going to leave the earth that way. So, who is that person? Who did God create her to be and that was that reconnecting with self that had to occur. Then, remembering that, ‘oh I have all these choices of how I do life’.
And I'm excited for each day that I discover more and more of who I am who that person is that God created and gave gifts to and sharpening my tools and learning to use tools, to keep becoming somebody that can serve humanity and serve my family and people around me in a better way, in a greater way than I was before.
The hero’s journey isn’t complete until the hero is able to bring back the elixir to their ordinary world. Through the pain of transformation, Robin gained lessons of wisdom that she is now sharing with others.
So, what has become truly at this part of my road or journey is that I have a passion to communicate something important to other women especially but all people but especially women because I'm a woman. And that is that it's important to never give away your power. And what do I mean by power? I mean, you don't give away your own right to live a joyous life. Joy doesn't come from circumstances. It comes from inside and regardless of our circumstances, we can still have this sensibility that we have a great life. And when we take responsibility for that and go, ‘you know what, I can create my life. I was created to be a creator too. And I desire that so deeply for every woman that I see in the same struggle that I was in or every person. And so, I out of that, have started doing what I would call a video blog, and I'm working on the content now. But it's the whole livluvlifestyle.com livluvlifestyle, what does that mean? It means to live the life you love and love the life you live. But I'm going to flop that because it's really about loving the life you live first and then living the life you love.
First, you have to love yourself and love that you've been given life and then you get to live. Every day is a gift, every single day is a day that's never been lived before. You get to decide and then creating that life that you will love. So, what do you love? What do I love? Bring those things into your life, I'm bringing those things into my life day by day.
Each day now, my goal is to live in one day a complete life. So, if I'm not here tomorrow I can look at yesterday and go, ‘that was great. Check! I can check off all those boxes.’ I did all those things that just make my heart sing and one of those is singing. So, I try to make sure I sing every day, I work on it every day now.
So, I have this sense of well-being in me all the time now that's so different than how I was living before. That came through a lot of mourning though, a lot of work, internal work and it's not over. I have to still keep doing that and keep learning but there's a genuine sense of I wake up and I go, ‘I really like my life. I have a good life.
Not only can she pass on her lessons to others, she now has a special symbol to pass along as well.
One of my healers, one of my helpers on my journey, a dear friend who's a coach. Handed me on my birthday, she handed me a Lladro butterfly and wrote me a note and said Robin, this is the process that you're in. You're going through your metamorphose right now, you're transforming and when you come out, you're going to be this beautiful butterfly. And I want you to remember that, keeps this nearby and look at it all the time. And when you’ve come through, and you know you're a butterfly, and then you see somebody else in that same place you were, I want you to pass this on to that person. I feel now like I can pass it on.
And you shall.
And I shall.
It was forged through tears and illness and kind of the death
I gave myself permission to mourn as deeply as I needed to.I will still have a sad moment. Sometimes, that's a few hours, maybe a day, that's pretty rare anymore. I think what I've allowed myself is that that's okay, that that's just part of having loved and lost. But there's new life, there's new love. And now, I can look and go I am thankful and grateful for what I've had. Everything comes to an end, we just don't know when or how. So, I don't want to regret love or regret that I love deeply. I want to cherish it but move forward.
I still have to exercise forgiveness, it's not all there all the time. I still feel anger will come up and I have to go okay, but do you want to live with it or do you want to let it go and let it pass through me when it does come up?
The last thing I really want to leave is that I'm living in gratitude and this was something that one of the key people in my life that helped me heal said to me. He looked at me and goes, ‘Rob, you have a really good life. You need to remember that.’ And it made me realize what am I complaining about like what am I licking my wounds about so much? I do have a good life. He's like ‘you're not suffering, you're not starving to death in another country, you have choices, you know So I'm not gonna get my violin out for you. So, I think it's so important to remember that whenever I start to get just a little bit too stuck, is to remember I have a really good life.
I’ve known Robin for her whole life. I gave her some feedback about the transformation that I see taking place.
The before and after of going through this circle is that definitely the shoulders are out of your ears you're much lighter and you're open and your creativity is flowing. Not that it wasn't, but it's just you're coming from a different energy somehow and it's very evident. So, I know you're still in process, there will always be things that will be difficult on this path. But you have really, really grown in tremendous ways and I see the fruit of all those choices that you made. It's very evident Robin.
Wow, that's really wonderful for you to say that thank you. That’s a real gift.
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