When the idea of an inspirational interview series first came up, I knew that if I was going interview those who inspire me most the first person would be my Mom, no questions asked. She is truly the strongest and most compassionate woman I know. As Mainers, we're a hardy breed (long winters call for thick skin) and my Mom taught me the importance of never giving up, continuing to work towards my dreams, and how to stand tall in the face of adversity. Whenever I hear the phrase, "create your own reality," I cannot think of anyone who has done this better than my Mom.
Raised a Jehovah Witness my mother asked questions about the religion from a young age. She didn't agree with what was being taught and knew that, for her, there was more to life. When my Mom met a handsome young man and they decided to get married three months later, she knew that leaving the faith meant leaving the life she knew, leaving the family she had, and stepping into the unknown. She was 17-years old. From that time forward my parents created the lives they wanted to lead. They celebrated holidays together for the first time, created new traditions, and navigated life with love, compassion, strength, and a sense of adventure. She has gone skydiving - twice, surfed the waves in Costa Rica, and is always the first one to jump in the lake after a long Maine winter, when it's too cold for the rest of us.
My mother has taught me the importance of hard work and not expecting things to be handed to me. I'll never forget her response when I was younger and being a lazy teenager and I asked her to get me something I clearly was capable of getting myself. She turned and asked me, "do you have a piano tied to your ass?" Well, I suppose not. It's a funny reminder that I am not weighed down and am free to live the life I choose. She has also taught me the importance of letting go when needed, forgiving myself and others, and that it's ok to soften.
Thank you Mom for your continued love and support, I continue to be in awe of you each and every day. Your strength and love has inspired me to live a life that will inspires others.
WanderFreely: You were raised Jehovah Witness, at what point did you realize the religion no longer served you?
Beth Hudson: I have no memory of ever believing in this religion. I believe it was based on control, negativity, and fear and I have never wanted to be a part of anything like that. I could never believe that if I didn't share the same beliefs that I would be destroyed when the Armageddon came, it made no sense to me and I knew that I couldn't be a part of it. This way of thinking never served me and I knew from the time I was 10-years-old that I would leave it as soon as I possibly could. I left when I was 17-years-old.
WF: How did you find the courage and strength the leave knowing that you would be on your own?
BH: For as long as I can remember I knew in my heart and soul that I could not be a part of this and I spent seven years hating it and planning for the day I would no longer be a part of this way of life. I so desperately wanted to get away, I never thought of being scared or that I wouldn't be able to do it. I knew I would be shunned by my family, but I was so oppressed that all I could think about was getting out. That burning desire for my freedom gave me the courage and strength to leave and never look back.
WF: You and Dad recently celebrated your 40th wedding anniversary. How do you continue to show each other love and what does commitment mean to you?
BH: We are a team and work together to support each other and work toward our goals. We try not to take one another for granted and overlook the things that might annoy us about each other. Being with someone for 40 years allows you to really get to know one another and learning to accept each other as the individual is important. We have a date night almost every week and make spending time together a priority.
Commitment means you take care of one another in sickness and health, through the good times and the bad. It means you respect the other's right to live their life as their own, yet respect what each others non-negotiable terms are on being a couple.
WF: When you are in a difficult place how do you bring yourself back to the present moment?
BH: I've learned that no matter what I am facing - it will pass and life will change in the next moment, day, week, year. Change is our only constant. Knowing this allows me to be present with whatever is happening and try to be with the pain or difficulty and not try to run away from it, because it won't last forever. I just have to deal and cope in this moment. I've also learned I am never alone. There's always someone who is willing and wants to help. Just knowing that I have others who care gives me strength.
There are times when I don't want to be in the present moment because it's a painful place to be, however, I have learned "the best way out is always through," to quote Robert Frost. The present moment is where I need to be to sit with whatever the difficult thing is that is happening and know I can't escape requires me to be present.
WF: How do you practice self-care?
BH: This is difficult for me because I tend to put everyone's needs ahead of my own. I realize I do this partly because I enjoy doing things for others and that gives me purpose and satisfaction. There's a need to balance that desire to give to others and the need of giving to myself - the first comes naturally, the later is more difficult.
I have to consciously give myself permission to make me my priority from time to time and do things I enjoy, like taking walks, reading a good book, getting on my yoga mat. One thing I have been doing lately is to breathe in something I desire, peace, calmness, joy, compassion, and with the out breath let go of the opposite, anger, chaos, bitterness, and judgement. It really helps refresh and calm my mind and body.
WF: What does yoga mean to you?
BH: Yoga, for me, is a way of life, which includes time on my mat (asana), mindfulness, respecting myself and others, and showing love and compassion. It is something I am always working toward and sometimes I feel like I am not successful because I didn't get on my mat or didn't make a healthy food choice. When this happens I try to remind myself that this is all a process and what yoga is all about. It's about being aware (mindful) and conscious of my world and how I am relating to it with my mind, body, and soul.
WF: Living in the beautiful state of Maine you are surrounded by nature. How does connecting with nature feed your soul?
BH: Nature reminds me of how small I am and I find that comforting. Being part of something so important as the earth and the thing that allows us to live is humbling and helps me keep whatever problem I am having in perspective. There is also the beauty - watching a sunset, listening to birds, eating fresh strawberries - these pleasures give such joy and make me grateful that these wonders are here for us all to enjoy. No matter who we are, nature shares its wonder with no judgement and asks nothing in return.
WF: Is there a particular mantra/saying/quote that resonates with you right now? If so, what is it and why?
BH: One of my favorite quotes is: "The best way out is always through." ~Robert Frost
It is what I have found to be true for life, there is no escaping what we are given to deal with. We can try to ignore, push away, or hide from things that happen that are difficult or challenging, but that is not really possible. The best way to cope with whatever is happening in our life is to sit with it, feel it, mourn or rejoice, learn what we can, make peace, and eventually find our way through.
WF: Why are you so incredibly amazing?!
BH: Ha! I am not sure that's true! I am grateful that I have had enough challenges in my life to give me strength, enough love to make me compassionate, and enough time living to give me perspective.
Thank you for sharing this journey with us here at WanderFreely. Stay tuned for more inspirational interviews and unless you have a piano tied to your ass, get out there and live the life you've always dreamed of!