I’ve been listening to Michelle Obama’s book, Becoming. She mentions how her best friend, Kevin, swerved from his path of becoming a doctor so he could be a team mascot. He enjoyed his time doing that and then became a doctor. This whole section has made me pause and ponder whether I ever swerved in my life. The other question that has been plaguing me is what it a Swerve and was it a necessary part of his path to make Kevin a doctor?

Michelle went straight to law school partly because of the applause she received from people when she told them of her career plans. She admitted that she has a need for approval and is a people pleaser. But she wasn’t happy. Maybe her Swerve was finding a fulfilling job that balanced her career and family life.

From the first time someone mentioned they wanted to be a lawyer when I was in high school, I chose that field. Instead of writing or being an English teacher, I majored in Political Science and History. The pride my family felt in me kept me on this path. I did change my major to English with a minor in Political Science during my undergrad years, but I went so far as to visit law schools and take the LSAT’s. But I wasn’t excited about it anymore. I was filled with worry when I told my mother I didn’t want to be a lawyer. She was fine with it, and so I continued on to get my master’s in English Literature.

I met my husband when I was 22 and was married at age 24. Had my first child at age 29. My second at age 31. Before children, I worked as a receptionist then at a bank in the facilities department. When I had my first son, Nick, I was determined to be at home to raise my children. I kept on a traditional path, but did I swerve?

I did and still write books. That’s my passion, my purpose. I don’t think it’s a Swerve.

What does it mean to Swerve? Is it doing something that you have always been afraid to do or is it trying something untraditional or outlandish or crazy? And who decides if it is crazy?

These questions have been plaguing me for myself and also for my son, Stephen. He is getting ready to graduate college. He will get a job, hopefully be able to support himself, and enjoy what he is doing. But what if he wants to Swerve? What would it be? I almost want to encourage him to Swerve. Take that year off and travel the world. Ride a motorcycle across the country. Move to another state and see what it’s like.

To me a Swerve is a calling that keeps beckoning you to do something that makes you feel alive, pushes you out of your comfort zone, and shocks even you. Who says your path has to be straight? Why not curve with a Swerve and venture into something or somewhere that you never thought you would?

So my big question is: What is my Swerve? What is calling me? Am I brave enough to take the chance? Is it that important? Well, yes it is, because I can’t get it out of my mind.

What about you? What is your Swerve? What have you wanted to do that you have stomped down because it’s not acceptable or timely or a financially sound decision?

Please share what Swerving means to you. I need some answers!

Crossroads & Winding Paths


One of the reasons I journal is to help me make decisions. This is useful when I have a few choices to make and they all are possible and positive options. I feel like I was meant to do so many things in my life, and I often wonder what my life would be like if I stuck to one plan, one choice, one path. Maybe I would have done more in that area, like writing many more books or being a teacher, but I am often called in many directions.

When I look at the photo above, it reminds me that I have many paths that lead to my purpose as long as they don’t take me too far out of the way. And it’s hard to know which was is the correct or best one for me right now. The path toward the sun looks lovely, toward the mountain appears challenging, and the road to the left is certainly unknown. Then I have all these signs pointing in all directions, but not really giving me guidance.

JanineBike-0005When riding a motorcycle, it’s important to not only look directly ahead of where I’m riding, but also as far as I can see. In order to anticipate my actions, I must have all the information, and I need to give myself time to absorb any challenges or obstacles in the way. Even though the road looks like it’s heading straight, I don’t know what will be over the next hill.

Photo by Elizabeth Fox Photography
But as long as I keep my eyes open, I can see what is coming toward me and be prepared.

This is like the crossroads and winding paths that my life is always on. I’m currently at a crossroads in my life, and no matter which path I choose, other people may not be happy with it. But if there is one lesson I have learned in life, I have to listen to my gut, my intuition that keeps my on my path. In addition, I have to know my path.

I have worked long and hard in my life through a great deal of self-inquiry and journaling to know what my purpose is on this earth.

I’d like to help you do the same.

Make a list of what you are passionate about, what you love to do. Don’t worry about whether you can get paid for it. This is something that when you do it, nothing else matters, and you feel a deep sense of joy in your mind, body, and spirit. These are activities that you feel lost without.

Now write down what you value, is important to you, and matters the most in your life. With at least five or more words describe what you love about yourself. What are your positive characteristics?

Let this sit and stop back to continue the roadmap to your purpose.

If you’d like a hands-on workshop for this, check out my website for local events.