Nora Livingstone, like the fabled doctor with whom she shares a last name, took a journey across the world to an exotic destination only to be found – by herself.
At first encounter, Nora Livingstone is a young woman wise far beyond her years. She seems like one of those people who has always had it all together. Educated with a degree in anthropology and trained in outdoor adventure leadership at prestigious Ontario universities, she has lived and traveled all over the world and is the CEO of a corporation that does business internationally. But if you infer from this that Nora has enjoyed a glamorous, perfect life, you’d be wrong.
I first became acquainted with Nora Livingstone when a mutual friend shared a very moving piece Nora had written for She Sees the World. In it, Nora writes about a painful realization. The conventional path she’d thought she was meant to take with her fiancé may have been doomed to fail from the get-go: “The stable life I had tried to build on the shaky foundations of this relationship was collapsing under the weight of my high expectations and my desperate need to cling on to something.”
A broken engagement is a tough thing for anyone to live through, much less summon the self-awareness to realize their own role and take responsibility for it. No matter, instead of planning a wedding and the happily ever after, Nora found herself alone.
Broken and wounded, stuck in a no-man’s land of sadness and inertia, feeling discarded and as if her life was over, Nora tried everything, or so it seemed, to get past this enormous blow: losing herself in work, starting new relationships, drinking a little too much. Nothing worked. Her self-image, not strong to begin with, was in total collapse. She wasn’t actively healing, and every day was spent just going through the motions on auto-pilot.
It is when you are at your lowest, when you are broken and fearful of change, that you must learn to silence the voices of caution in your mind and leap forth to continue on your journey, further than you thought possible, and pounce on that prize you seek. – S.A. Bouraleh, The Serpent’s Son
And then one day, Nora realized the only way to move on from the hurt and resulting low self-esteem was to, literally, move on. “I didn’t think that I was smart enough, or independent enough. I had to stop listening to myself. What was the worst that could happen?” So, rather uncharacteristically. even though she was scared and didn’t really know what might be in store, she booked an open-ended solo trip to Nepal.
Nora thought that this trip would be an escape, but instead, it brought her to a place of healing, clarity and empowerment. We spoke with Nora about how she became so fed up with feeling sad and victimized by circumstances that she decided drastic action was necessary. Listen how her vision of starting over actually, and unexpectedly, transpired, which led her to do greater things in her life than she ever imagined were possible.
The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places. – Ernest Hemingway
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Podcast Notes: In the audio introduction, we mistakenly referred to Animal Experience International as a non-profit. Instead, it is a Certified “B” Corporation, part of growing group of companies that meet higher standards of transparency, accountability and performance. Learn more here about how Certified B Corporations are leading the way to new definitions of success in business.
Animal Experience International’s main website is here, where you can find social media links and contact information. Nora has also graciously offered herself as a sounding board to anyone who is feeling stuck or drifting without a purpose. She can be reached via Twitter here, and at the email address she shares in the audio recording.