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I Rented a Villa for 42 Days…
and This is What Happened

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ttThis summer I did something unconventional, spontaneous and totally fabulous.

If you remember from last month’s Behind the Divine, after I decided to close the Santa Barbara office, the most beautiful opportunity opened up to me. I was loving summer in Europe and I realized there was no reason to go home yet, so without further ado, I decided to spend the next seven weeks in a luxury villa en Provence. And here’s the kicker—solo.

From running our business to traveling the world, my husband Glenn and I love doing life together. However, what makes our relationship so strong is that we always respect each other’s individual desires. As our Amalfi adventure winded down, Glenn was eager to get home to Santa Barbara, where friends from out of town and tickets to Sturgis (I know…it’s not every woman who can say she just got a text from her husband at a Kid Rock show) he had been looking forward to all summer were awaiting him. Meanwhile all I could think about was starting every morning at le marché and spending weekends on the C’ôte D’Azure.

When you’re happily coupled, it’s easy to forget what it’s like to be happy in solitude.

Our respective brother and sister-in-laws immediately texted us…is everything okay? People don’t spend a month or more apart unless something’s wrong. Are you two having issues? I wrote back, “The only issue I have with Glenn is that he’s not here with me right now!” Of course we would have loved to be together and we missed each other, but on the other hand, this time apart gave us the space to grow as individuals.

When you’re happily coupled, it’s easy to forget what it’s like to be happy in solitude—especially when you spend as much time with your significant other as Glenn and I do. It doesn’t leave a lot of space for having your own agenda, spending time alone, reflecting, focusing and connecting with your friends.

villa-1What I experienced was exactly the pattern interrupt I needed. Living alone in Provence, I allowed myself new habits and a significant change of pace. I became one with the 78-year-old French women who I saw daily at the local market and I spent every night getting creative in my dreamy villa kitchen. My internal clock was on a summer schedule, so I indulged in sleeping in and staying up later. Being alone, I found more time to read, journal and focus on my own self-care.

it just reminded me that when you’re totally lit up by where you are, your attraction factor is that much stronger.

I wasn’t alone the entire time however—in fact in a way, my social life exploded! Friends from all over the world came to visit, one from Sweden, another from London and one from Australia. It was probably more visitors than I’m used to receiving in Santa Barbara, and it just reminded me that when you’re totally lit up by where you are, your attraction factor is that much stronger.

As I unapologetically made the decision to go where my heart led, I did receive the question of whether I was on a four-month vacation. Maybe one day, I will take one of those, but up until now it hasn’t been on my list of desires. My dream has been to have a meaningful career and travel the world at the same time and that’s exactly what’s been happening.

villa-2My days may start a little later and move a little slower while summering in Europe, but part of what I love is that I also uphold my responsibilities to my team and to my clients. In Provence, I would wake up each morning, leisurely hop on Pinterest and find new recipes I’d like to make and villages I’d like to visit. After breakfast and food shopping, it would typically be around 11am when I’d sit down at my computer and start handling emails for the Divine Living Magazine.

Then by three o’clock, my teams on the east and west Coasts would be up and I might have magazine meetings scheduled, work to do for the Divine Living Academy launch, calls to take with clients or all of the above. By the time seven pm rolled around, I’d turn off all technology, put on some music and start working on whatever epic dinner I had planned for the evening.

I was so delighted by how being in a new place, alone with my desires, allowed me to see what was possible for my next chapter.

I was loving my life in Provence so much that I started to wonder…how much is property here? Excited, I began looking around online and then—I found it. My total dream chateau! It was the perfect location for the first Divine Living Hotel…a dream I’ve been hinting at here and there that suddenly seemed even closer than I imagined. I drew it in so close that I eventually called the agency and asked to see it.

villa-3The slightly disappointing news is, it had already been sold. But the amazing news is that the experience brought me so much clarity around a big dream for my company and I now know that even though that wasn’t the property, there would be another Provençal chateau for me out there. I was so delighted by how being in a new place, alone with my desires, allowed me to see what was possible for my next chapter.

If you desire this kind of lifestyle for yourself, it’s time to let go of all the excuses.

The reason I’m sharing this with all of you is that I know I’m not the only one who would love to have seven weeks alone in a villa in the South of France—or Bali, or Tulum or whatever corner of the world is calling your name—and I wouldn’t want anyone out there to make themselves wrong for craving it. The idea that such a thing might be outrageous, indulgent, or selfish is so 1984 and I’m here to introduce you to the #newnormal for women like us.

If you desire this kind of lifestyle for yourself, it’s time to let go of all the excuses. We’re living in a day in age where women are making it happen for themselves no matter what, and yes, even the ones with kids. I’ve seen the mothers in the Divine Living Academy figuring it out, giving their children amazing lives abroad with the best international schooling or private homeschooling. Life in 2016 is truly what you decide to make it.

villa-4And as for the idea that there’s anything selfish about a woman saying yes to her desires, let’s let go of that one, shall we? I believe the most generous thing we can do for the world is be honest about who we are, what we want and how we are choosing to do life. We have to be honest with our teams, colleagues, clients, friends and significant others so that we can give our best while receiving exactly what we need.

And as for the idea that there’s
anything selfish about a woman saying yes to her desires, let’s let go of that one, shall we? I believe the most generous thing we can do for the world is be honest about who we are, what we want and how we are choosing to do life.

When you make what you love a priority, your life and business will fall into place around it. I spent so many years telling myself I had to wait until “one day” to be able to travel the world, so the last thing I want is for any other big-thinking woman out there to wait as long as I did. So take a look at your passions, your core values and how you run your business. Are they aligned?

From the way you structure your day to where you do your work, when running a passion-based business you have the grand opportunity to live on brand every day. And believe me, by having the clarity and the courage to stand up for your dreams, you will inspire so many more to do the same.

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