Before I knew what it was, The Holstee Manifesto manifested inside me in 2008 when I bought a new journal. On the first page a started somewhat subconsciously to draw a picture. It was a picture of what I wanted my life to look like. I am no artist so it was pretty abstract but I knew what it was meant to represent and that is all that mattered.

In this sketch I depicted a very alive person with a hugely open heart, expanding mind and well-established roots. This person is me. And from the image of me I drew some lines that opened up into a large spherical shape: sharing joy and knowledge I believe. I drew a table under the open sky full of food and drink and friends. And I included some lines and dots from one side of the page to another, which symbolized movement back and forth between two places. Other elements included water and gardens.

For those of you not inside my own brain, I will translate. I wanted to build on the work life I had created in the food and wine industry and incorporate it more into my day-to-day life by living in Italy. I wanted share beautiful food with people I loved and in this process I wanted to gain a certain level of physical and emotional health that opened up my heart and mind. I wanted to be able to share this experience with others and help them on the road to fulfillment and wellness. And I wanted to bounce back and forth between Italy and my home in New England, although I didn’t know exactly where that was. I wanted roots in both places.

Fast forward to 2013: I am writing from my home in Providence, Rhode Island. I am a wellness coach and personal cartographer (mapper of your life) and am running yoga, coaching and culinary retreats in Italy in the region where I spent the last two years living. The place where my second car lives along with several of my things and friends. My yoga and meditation practice is stronger than it’s ever been and I am starting yoga therapy training soon. I am surrounded by friends, the sea and am making plans for a spring garden.

It did not all come easily and often it was quite a slog actually. Difficult decision, financial woes, set backs, challenging people. But a whole lot of joy and fun, too. Somewhere along the line I did read the Holstee Manifesto and every step of the way I kept both that and my sketch with me and used them to guide me as I plodded along. Today the drawing has been revised to make room for the version of me that I’ve created and I imagine it will always be this way.