93. A Sabbatical Saved Her Life with Debby Kevin

Debby Kevin is a corporate refugee who turned her life around in an extraordinary way. Balancing a high-stress corporate life as a Six Sigma black belt and working 70 hours a week as a single mom, everything was “fine” until the pivotal moment her son was diagnosed with autism.

Forced to pause her corporate career, Debby took a two-year sabbatical, diving headfirst into a world of self-discovery, exploring her own well-being and her son’s needs. This period led her to uncover new interests and ultimately, a new career.

Today, as the founder of Highlander Press, Debby helps change-makers share their stories through impactful books. Tune in as we delve into Debby’s transformative journey, exploring the power of saying ‘no’, trusting intuition, and embracing life’s challenges to find our true path.

Debby’s hype songs are This Girl is on Fire by Alicia Keys and You’re F***ing Perfect by P!nk

Resources:

Of course, you can go to Zen Rabbit.com to get your copy of the short guide to working less and living better – also known as The Five Easy Ways to Start Living a Sabbatical Life. You know what else you can get there? The newly revised and released How to Feel Comfortable, Confident & Courageous at Networking Events Book. Look for the link that says Networking at the top of the home page or go here.

Produced by Nova Media

Transcript

Lori Saitz:

Speaker:

Welcome to Fine is a 4-Letter Word, the podcast that empowers you to say fuck being fine. Tired of being stuck in a place where you say everything's fine when it's really not fine at all. You're not alone. I'm your host, Lori Saitz. I've been there too, and so have my guests. Here's a secret. All it takes is a conscious decision to change and then restructure beliefs so your actions take you in the right direction. That's where Fine is a 4-Letter Word comes in. Each week, you'll hear inspiring stories from people who have transformed their lives and businesses and practical tips and takeaways to move you from spinning in place to forward action so you can create a life of joy. Thanks for tuning in. Let's get started. Debby Keegan is a corporate refugee turned inspirational author and publisher. A single mother and Six Sigma black belt working 70 hours a week. She had an uncanny ability to balance her personal and professional life. That is, until life threw her a curve ball. Debby's life uprooted when her younger son was diagnosed with autism. This pivotal moment led Debby to take a two year sabbatical to give her son the care he deserved. Her son wasn't the only one transformed. This period of self-discovery ignited a profound shift in Debby's own identity and purpose.

Lori Saitz:

Speaker:

During that time, Debby invested in a writing class that sparked a newfound love. Now she's the founder and chief inspiration officer of Highlander Press, helping other changemakers share their healing and truth through impactful books. In today's conversation, you'll hear Debby's journey from corporate problem solver to self realized writer and publisher. She shares the power of saying no. Trusting your intuition, following your curiosity, and the transformative experiences that led to her personal and professional metamorphosis. Debby's story is an inspiring testament to courage, resilience and the pursuit of authenticity. Shout out to Carolyn Choate for introducing me to this adventurous Camino de Santiago Pilgrim. Of course you can go to Zen rabbit.com to get your copy of the Short Guide to Working Less and Living Better. Also known as the Five Easy Ways to Start Living a Sabbatical Life. You know what else you can get there. The newly revised and released How to Feel Comfortable, Confident and Courageous at Networking Events book. Look for the link that says Networking at the top of the home page or find the link in the show notes. Hello and welcome to Fine is a 4-Letter Word. My guest today is Debby Keyvan. Welcome to the show, Debby.

Debby Kevin:

Speaker:

Oh, thank you so much for having me, Lori. I'm delighted to be with you today.

Lori Saitz:

Speaker:

Yeah. Shout out to our mutual connection, Carolyn, for introducing us.

Debby Kevin:

Speaker:

Yeah, she's really fabulous. She does all kinds of book funnel fun things.

Lori Saitz:

Speaker:

Yes, we can make her a sponsor of the show today, so she doesn't know. But. So let me start with the question I love asking people, which is I'm just curious about the values and beliefs you were raised with that led you to becoming who you did, especially as a young adult?

Debby Kevin:

Speaker:

Yeah, I love that question. I would say in my family, particularly in my dad. Curiosity was a really prevalent value in our family and I am insanely curious. I ask questions about everything and I, I always feel as I get older that I'm running out of runway to learn new things and there's always more to learn. So there's I would say curiosity was one and integrity was another. My dad was a military guy raised by military parents who really valued. You know, keeping your word and being honest and forthright. And it does. You know, I remember my dad saying at the end of the day, I have to look at myself in the mirror and I want to be proud of that person. And so I would say those were two and education. My parents didn't have a lot of money, but they worked hard to put us in private school so that we could have the best education wherever we lived.

Lori Saitz:

Speaker:

Okay. Two questions there. One, I'm going to come back to this the that one first. Did he say he was proud of you? He could look in the mirror and say he was proud of himself. Did he teach? Did he say he was proud of you? And did he teach you to say the same thing to yourself?

Debby Kevin:

Speaker:

Oh, such a powerful question. The answer is no. And most of my adult life, I was hustling. To get that. I'm proud of you. From him or from anyone. From him. I was. I was working a lot of, you know, just wanting his approval and his love. He grew up he had an interesting story in that he was put in an orphanage after he was born and he was in an orphanage for five years until my grandfather came back from World War Two and took him out of the orphanage. So I learned that much later in life. My dad didn't have he had malformed attachment. So even though he felt it and I knew later in life, like when he before he passed away, our relationship was the best it had ever been. Um, I knew he was proud of me, and I knew that he loved me. He just wasn't capable of giving me that feedback the way that I wanted and deserved. But he felt it for sure. I learned the the self pride much later in life.

Lori Saitz:

Speaker:

Yeah, I think a lot of us learn it much later, if at all. A lot of people never get to that point. And what was there something that. Inspired you to start thinking that you could say, I'm proud of me. To yourself?

Debby Kevin:

Speaker:

Yeah, that's such a good question because it really ties in also to my sabbatical story because that was really the the break in my patterns. And I gave myself permission to sit with the discomfort and to sit with. Me and learn how. How I needed to be for myself, and that looking externally for validation was never going to give me what I deserved and what I wanted. So when I started looking at it internally and looking at what I could give to myself and it was a lot of reading and a lot of analyzing and a lot of working with other professionals that I got to the point was like. It's nice to hear wonderful feedback from other people. But I know it within myself what I'm capable of and what I'm really proud of.

Lori Saitz:

Speaker:

Yeah. And then it doesn't matter that if. If or when you get it from someone else from outside. Going back to that first question, because you said curiosity was another one of the the values and asking questions. What what's been your experience in asking questions like throughout? Do you get I mean, your experience in terms of like, do people get annoyed or are they like, oh, I love your curiosity?

Debby Kevin:

Speaker:

Again, it goes back to it depends on the person. So I've had it both ways. I was married to someone who was abusive and he hated my questions. I mean, just I mean, he punished me for being curious. Whereas the people who know me best, they love my curiosity because I know a little bit about everything and I'm always willing to learn more. And my husband now we're both very curious people and and it's just a lovely like kind of going back and forth. And I really appreciate that he appreciates it and I appreciate that he has the same level of curiosity. And so. I think for the most part it's one of my superpowers is being curious.

Lori Saitz:

Speaker:

I love it and I love that. I mean, I don't love that you were in an abusive relationship. I. My theory is that people who don't appreciate people who ask questions feel like they're being challenged. And that you're challenging their authority or their power. And so they don't appreciate the questions. Because I'm thinking back to one of my first jobs after college. In fact, I think it was the very first job I had after college and my immediate boss. I'm the same way. I love asking. Like, I just want to know why. Like, yeah, help me understand. Is more of it not a challenge. But she would go on. She did not like it because she felt like it was a challenge to her authority. And it wasn't. It was really, Hey, I'm new to the work world. I'm just trying to learn so well.

Debby Kevin:

Speaker:

And I think it helps to put things in context, right? So like, I need to understand the big picture. And the way my brain works is I can see entire fields of, of, of how something can work or how pieces go together. And so giving me that structure to understand is really powerful. And then also, you know, why are we doing it this way? You know, I was the Six Sigma Black Belt when I was in a in my corporate job. And that's all about problem solving. And it's not, you know, slapping a band aid on something, but really getting down to the root cause of something and then fixing it. And so I worked for an electric company here in the Baltimore area, and we had these things that went on air conditioners that would cycle off and on when the heat was really high. So residents could earn money. But the power company could reduce the load on the transmission lines. And those those often got carted away when new air conditioning units were put on. So we were paying money to people who didn't have them anymore. And so just thinking outside the box is like, well, we have meter readers that walk around these neighborhoods. Why can't we just add a question to their little handheld device to walk around and look at the air conditioner? Do they have it or do they not have it? Yeah, you know, and it's a simple yes or no to second ad, and it saved the company in the first year over $6 million.

Lori Saitz:

Speaker:

And you came up with that?

Debby Kevin:

Speaker:

I came up with that. It was just like, So did you.

Lori Saitz:

Speaker:

Get a bonus?

Debby Kevin:

Speaker:

I did get a really good bonus. Okay.

Lori Saitz:

Speaker:

Okay. Because I was kind of expecting you to say no. They just. No. Okay, cool.

Debby Kevin:

Speaker:

No, I got it. In fact, every year I was in a Six Sigma black belt and problem solving. I actually got really good bonuses because of the savings. And without people losing their jobs or making them wrong, it's like, well, what if we tried it this way? And why can't it work? Tell me why it can't work. Why won't this? Yeah.

Lori Saitz:

Speaker:

I love asking the question of how can it work? Instead of. Oh, it just it won't work or we can't do that. How can we accomplish this goal?

Debby Kevin:

Speaker:

Which is such an important question because if you think about. If you think about it in terms of, let's say, being in business, right? Being in business for yourself. I love when I find something that comes to me and it's like, this is something that I think is going to be really valuable. How can I fit this into my schedule? How can I prioritize it? How can I attract the income to pay for what this next growth opportunity is? So it's not a matter of, Oh, it won't work now, but how can I make it work? How can what would have to happen in order for me to be able to say yes to this? Yeah.

Lori Saitz:

Speaker:

Yeah, exactly.

Debby Kevin:

Speaker:

It's an empowering. It's a power empowering reframe.

Lori Saitz:

Speaker:

Yes. In any situation can be. Exactly. Yeah. Okay. So you mentioned that you worked in corporate. And what I remember from our conversation that we had before this that you referred to yourself as a corporate refugee. Yes. So what happened?

Debby Kevin:

Speaker:

You know.

Lori Saitz:

Speaker:

It sounds like it sounds like things were going really well. Yeah.

Debby Kevin:

Speaker:

They were. I had a great job. I was a single mom. I was working about 70 hours a week on average. I had a lot of responsibility. I had eight different teams that reported to me because I was reporting directly to a senior vice president and then the board. And we were changing every aspect of the company. I mean, literally how meters got read, how we transmitted energy, how we sold energy, how people got build, every aspect. So we had eight major projects going on and I loved it. I loved the the change aspect of it. I loved the bringing people on board and solving problems and I loved it. And at the same time, I had two small children and I was meticulous about being at work on time. And then leaving at 4:00 every day. I wanted to pick my kids up from school and be home and have like a normal life, and then I would work after they went to bed. This was a pretty established pattern. And then my younger son in 2009 really had a break. He was extremely anxious. And the long and short of it is, is he was diagnosed with autism. And I would literally drop him off at school, drive 45 minutes to my office, walk into my office, get situated, and I would get a call. You need to come pick him up. So this is. He's having a meltdown. He's having a panic attack or whatever the thing was of the day. And this went on for weeks and. I didn't know we were seeing doctors. We were seeing specialists. Long and short of it was I had to just I needed to take a break from my corporate job to focus on figuring out how best to support him in a way that he felt supported and not that he was broken, because that was the biggest thing for me was I wanted him to know he was perfect exactly as he was. We just had to pull together the new tools and the new language and all of the new information. So I took a three month leave of absence.

Lori Saitz:

Speaker:

How old was he?

Debby Kevin:

Speaker:

He was nine. Um. So I was in my mid 40s. They said, we're plugging along. We're I'm learning new skills. He's we're getting the support that we need. We've got things clicking along and it's getting closer and closer to my leave being over. I started getting I started throwing up. I just started having headaches. I started not being able to sleep. I was so overwhelmed at the thought of going back. So I decided to not. I went back for two weeks to transition all the big projects, get people on board. Maybe it was a month that I went back and so I gave my two weeks notice and then I left. They replaced me with five people. Geez. That's how much I was carrying, how much hustling I was doing. And I was so I remember being so angry.

Lori Saitz:

Speaker:

Yeah, I can I understandably.

Debby Kevin:

Speaker:

Yeah, I was like, I was drowning, but I was the kind of person that I was going to get it done and I was going to get it done to the best of my ability. And everybody knew it. My boss knew it. They knew that. And so that was really the first step. So that's, you know, 2010, we're into 2010 and. I spent really two years working with my son and being a stay at home mom and just really balancing all of the things that that meant. And I was so unmoored. I didn't even know what do I do next?

Lori Saitz:

Speaker:

Were you thinking about figuring out what you were doing next, or were you so focused on helping him that that it was you know, that was your main focus and not really concerned with what am I going to do?

Debby Kevin:

Speaker:

Yeah, it was a combination. I would say in the beginning, most certainly I was completely focused on him and I started to look at my own health because he was doing some acupuncture treatments which helped him with his panic attacks and other things. And I realized I was curious about that. So I wanted to do it. And I remember the I went every every week for five years. And it wasn't until the end of those five years that I actually had pulses, which is what they do to test the strength of the energy within your body. Everything was so blocked and I would just come in depleted, depleted, depleted. And I say that my son saved my life like that experience because had I stayed on that trajectory, I would have had massive burnout and who knows what would have ended up happening, right?

Lori Saitz:

Speaker:

How that manifests physically and mentally.

Debby Kevin:

Speaker:

Yeah. So I did a lot of learning for him. I went and took a lot of programs. I got certified in occupational therapy techniques and all kinds of other things. And it's windy here.

Lori Saitz:

Speaker:

It's all right. This is.

Debby Kevin:

Speaker:

Life. It's real life. It's real life. But then I started taking classes. And one of the things that I've always been interested in was writing. So I just took a writing class for myself and I loved it. And and then I started writing some more. And and I always believe that when we're ready and we're in the right mind frame, things come to us. And I got invited to submit to Stanford University's writing program, and it was to basically write and publish a novel within two years. Let me reframe that, not publish it, but write it and edit it and go through the entire process of creation and revision and all of that. And it was a really unique program. So I did that. And so that was kind of the thing that I did for myself while I was also focused on him. And I wrote a complete novel in those two years, started a second one, worked with some New York Times bestselling authors to review my book, and I was hooked. I'm like, This is everything.

Lori Saitz:

Speaker:

That sounds fabulous. What? It was so.

Debby Kevin:

Speaker:

Cool.

Lori Saitz:

Speaker:

Yeah. I mean, what an opportunity to be in this program and then make those kinds of connections.

Debby Kevin:

Speaker:

Yeah, it was really a powerful program and it was all based on understanding how to put a novel together, how to tell stories. It was so interesting though. Lori At that time I wanted to write and I was writing, but I still didn't have the mindset or belief system in place within myself to believe that, Oh, I could make a living at this. I could do this for myself and for other people.

Lori Saitz:

Speaker:

Did you? The question I want to I was going to freeze it is you were writing, but you didn't see yourself as a writer.

Debby Kevin:

Speaker:

Right. I didn't see myself as having a career path in this arena. You know, everything I'd done before was all left brain, you know, it was, yeah, using statistics and using, you know, I was a CPA, like using numbers and data and now we're looking at the complete other side. That being said, everywhere I worked, I was the one that started the company newsletter. I'm the one that did interviews of other people. I'm the one who helped them polish their presentations or edit their their email to take out the tone, you know, or clarify. So I, I was using these skills already. Yeah.

Lori Saitz:

Speaker:

It's interesting because when you look back in hindsight, you can see all the breadcrumbs, but at the time when you're in it, you don't see it at all.

Debby Kevin:

Speaker:

Exactly. Exactly.

Lori Saitz:

Speaker:

Yeah. Okay. Allow me a quick moment to thank you for tuning in toFine is a 4-Letter Word. If you're enjoying the show, please take a second to hit the follow button so you don't miss an episode. And if you haven't already, I'd love it if you would leave me a review on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or Google Podcasts. Your feedback helps the show reach more listeners like you. Fine is a 4-Letter Word is available on all major podcasting platforms, so no matter where you listen, you can stay up to date with the latest episodes. Now let's get back into the conversation. So where was the point where you became the writer? Where were you? Where you stepped into that identity?

Debby Kevin:

Speaker:

Yeah, that's a it's fascinating. I think I stepped into first being an editor. And then I stepped into being a copywriter. So not necessarily long form novels or books, but I really focused on I'm really good with words and I can really hone people's messaging. I can work with website designers. I can work with marketers, I can write. I ghost Ghostwrote thousands of blog posts over the years, you know, marketing copy and helping people just navigate those first few years of business and showing up as themselves. So again, it was that baby step in that right direction. And then people started coming and asking me, Hey, I've got this book. Do you think you could help me get it published? Okay. It's like, I can do that.

Lori Saitz:

Speaker:

All right. And is that and.

Debby Kevin:

Speaker:

It's like, not only can I do it, but I can do it in a way that was fun and educational and. I realized it brought in all of my skills, all of the problem solving skills, the process, the the financial piece, the the marketing piece, the the editing piece, the all of it was right there under my nose. Wow.

Lori Saitz:

Speaker:

Okay. And so that's what you're doing now.

Debby Kevin:

Speaker:

That's what I'm doing now. Yes.

Lori Saitz:

Speaker:

An interesting we talked to about. So where do you consider the sabbatical was that those two years. When you were doing?

Debby Kevin:

Speaker:

Yeah. Yeah. So it's funny because I was emancipated at 16 years old, so I have worked. I worked even before I went to college. I worked full time while I went to college. I put myself through I was the first person in my family to go to college. So all of those things were, you know, wasn't even in my family's. You perception that I could do this. So yeah. So I've been working nonstop since I was 16. Where did you.

Lori Saitz:

Speaker:

Get the idea that you could do it if it wasn't from your family?

Debby Kevin:

Speaker:

Um. Well, I'm the black sheep of the family. I think that's probably pretty obvious. And I. And I definitely have always taken the road less traveled. And I also it's interesting because even if I didn't grow up with belief in my from other people believing in me, I've always kind of had this belief in myself. Like I remember my mother saying to me, You're making a mistake. You're going to end up on drugs, you're going to end up homeless. You're going to I mean, they couldn't even wrap their heads around my grandparents. My grandmother paid for my emancipation like it was not a good family situation. And. I never believed that. I never, ever believed that I wouldn't be successful. It was funny. I was talking with someone probably about six years ago. And she said to me, You're a risk taker.

Lori Saitz:

Speaker:

Definitely.

Debby Kevin:

Speaker:

And I thought, no freaking way. Am I a risk taker? But then she said, you moved out on your own when you were 16. You took a bet on yourself. You left a corporate a really good corporate job to go back to school and make less money, but put yourself through school. That took a lot of risk and courage and belief. You. Left to corporate out really great corporate job with a really good income and. You believed in yourself. So I am a risk taker. Yeah.

Lori Saitz:

Speaker:

And. And you listen to your soul. Which is somewhat unusual because because a lot of people are afraid to hear what it's going to tell them to do, which is often take a risk. And they don't want to do that. So they just shut it down like, I don't hear you. La la la la la. Like, hands over their ears.

Debby Kevin:

Speaker:

I love that you said that it was listening to my soul because I've learned through this growth process, really, that I know what's best for me. And when I stop and listen, even if there's fear. And listen and just say, is this the right thing? And just trust that. Just take that next step. The path will appear. Always. One of my favorite movies of all time is Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade. And when at the very end of the movie, for those who haven't seen it, Indiana Jones takes a handful. He's got to jump this chasm. There's this huge chasm and you can't see the path. So he takes some dirt and it's trust. You put one foot in front of the other and he throws this dirt and then the path appears because it's an optical illusion. And he's just steps one foot in front of the other and he gets to where the Knights Templar is, is waiting for him and had been waiting for a thousand years. And it's just. Trusting that the path will appear. If you just take that right step and you trust it's going to come.

Lori Saitz:

Speaker:

You just made me think, and I'm going to when we get to the end, you know, the question I'm going to ask you, but you made me think of Pink has a new album out called Trust Fall.

Debby Kevin:

Speaker:

Yes. I love that song and I love Pink.

Lori Saitz:

Speaker:

So I've listened to it on repeat many times. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Trusting. Okay, so. I don't know where. I took us down a different path of. You were talking about something and then I jumped in like I always do. And I'm like, Wait, wait, I have a question. See, this is where the questions come. Great. So I don't remember where we were, but, um. Pilgrimage was another thing we talked about. Did you go? Yeah. Did you go? Tell you. Are you planning to? Because. I don't remember. Okay, so both.

Debby Kevin:

Speaker:

So back in 2015, I saw a movie called The Way, which was written by Emilio Estevez and stars his dad, Martin Sheen. And it's the story of a father and son who have a difficult relationship. And the son is traveling. He leaves this lucrative job and he goes traveling the world and he ends up in Spain. And I don't want to ruin it for anybody but Martin Short. Martin Sheen, not Martin Short. Very different people travels to Spain and finishes what his son started. And I was so moved by this movie and this this idea of this ancient pilgrimage. I'm not religious. I'm very spiritual. And I also believe that we're called to do hard things. And if we pay attention to those things, it's really important. And so I, I. Showed the movie to my kids. I showed it to that movie to my then husband, and I'm like, I'm going to do this. And my kids are like, That's great, go do it. Just don't ask us to do it. And my then husband was like, You're never going to do that. You're too overweight. You're too this. You're not in good enough shape. You're. Thanks for the support, dude, But yeah, yeah. And I just remember being devastated and like, I am going to do this. And so flash forward to 2016. I walk into this business mentoring program, big tables. I just I never met any of the people. I'm extremely introverted, so I just go right to a table and put my stuff down. And this woman comes over, puts her stuff down next to me. She goes, Can I sit here? Lovely British accent. And we just start chit chatting like, Oh, what do you do? She goes, I take women on the Camino de Santiago. And I literally said, Are you shitting me?

Lori Saitz:

Speaker:

You're looking around like, am I on Candid Camera here?

Debby Kevin:

Speaker:

Right. And she's like, You've heard of it. Most Americans haven't heard of it. I said, Yeah, it's on my list. And so I said, What's your what's your website? I'm going to go look at it on a break. And I came back. I had called my kids while I was on the break. I'm divorced by this point. Um. I'm. On the phone with my kids. I'm like, I want to do this. It's in the spring of next year. And they're both like, go, because I've been talking about it, you know, And they're like, We're off the hook now. Yeah.

Lori Saitz:

Speaker:

She's got someone else to go with. And I said to.

Debby Kevin:

Speaker:

Her, Yeah, yeah. I said, Where do I sign up? And she's like, Are you kidding me? I'm like, No, I'm coming with you. Like, where do I sign up? I'm signing up now. I didn't know it at the time, but I was her first client.

Lori Saitz:

Speaker:

That makes the story even better.

Debby Kevin:

Speaker:

She had walked, right? Yeah. And so I did about 80 miles the first time I went with her. And then I wanted to do even more. So we did another 200 ish miles. So I've done in total 350 miles so far. So my husband and I turned 60 this year and we're finishing the the Camino and we're walking into Santiago on our one year wedding anniversary.

Lori Saitz:

Speaker:

When's that?

Debby Kevin:

Speaker:

It's October 4th this year.

Lori Saitz:

Speaker:

Nice. So I have to tell you that this. Camino de Santiago has come up in three different conversations in the past probably month or six weeks, and I wasn't really aware of it at all before that. And so I'm just questioning because it's not something I'm really looking to do. But it has come up several times now. Three times.

Debby Kevin:

Speaker:

Sure. So it's calling to you for some reason.

Lori Saitz:

Speaker:

It is. Definitely has my attention now. Yeah, it's truly yeah.

Debby Kevin:

Speaker:

And I love. So there's a bunch of different ways to do it. We actually carry a day pack and all of our accommodations are booked in small bed and breakfast. So we get breakfast, lunch and dinner. Everything's included. And we have a small suitcase that travels ahead. So we aren't carrying everything on our backs. So it's sort of you get the experience, but you're not you're not, you know, camping out like you would be doing on the Appalachian Trail. It's a very different experience. And Europe does such a great job of of having potable water everywhere. Like here, you've got to pack it all because you won't find water. But they're on the trail. There's just water. And you're walking through little villages and there's history and. And it's a very personal experience. I mean, people are called to it for all different kinds of reasons, I think for me. I believe it just gave me space again to really be with myself.

Lori Saitz:

Speaker:

And my own thought in it. That is a sabbatical. You?

Debby Kevin:

Speaker:

Yeah, it is for sure. Yeah. And going away for a month in 2018 was a really big deal because I left my business. You know, I had a son who was a senior in high school, one that was in college. And, you know, I unplugged for an entire month, which again, in this country is unheard of. And I came back truly a different person. Like, I had too many things I felt weighed down. I'm like, I need to just get rid of stuff and keep the things around me that bring me joy and serve purpose, but don't want to be weighed down by the stories, by the experiences, by the heaviness that I'd had in my life. And it's like, where do I leave this? How can I, how can I be with myself and recognize the person who's traveled All these different journeys with me is me.

Lori Saitz:

Speaker:

And so you came back feeling like you had left what you didn't need any longer on the trail.

Debby Kevin:

Speaker:

Woof. Yes, I really did. Yeah, I felt unmoored is what I came back. I just said I don't fit in my life the way it was. I don't fit anymore.

Lori Saitz:

Speaker:

Interesting.

Debby Kevin:

Speaker:

Yeah, it was it was a very hard time because integrating. The two became a challenge but a well worthwhile challenge.

Lori Saitz:

Speaker:

Yeah, I want to ask about that. And I don't we, we don't have another half an hour to talk. But, but just like what were a couple of the things that you had to do to integrate back into life here. And to match all the pieces back together.

Debby Kevin:

Speaker:

I'm part of. It was. What did I want from my life? Like I never really allowed myself to dream. It was always just reaction to something that was happening or saying yes to things. And so I. I learned to say no to more things. I learned as well, to be super comfortable with my intuition and really listen, because I know that when I'm called to something, I'm going to do it. I physically got rid of a lot of things that I'd been moving. I grew up in a military family and my dad sold all my childhood things without me knowing. And so I started to accumulate things. And I was holding on to things that I didn't really need and my kids definitely didn't want or have any interest in. So I gave myself permission. When I came back, I pulled everything from storage that had gone from my big house to the place that we were living, and I just started going through things and and releasing them and. And. And it just felt so light. Yeah. And it also gave me permission to say, here's what I was doing before. What do I really want to be doing? And when I was really honest with myself, I wanted to work in the field of books. In all aspects, writing them, editing them, publishing them, giving women in particular a voice. Yeah. And so. I think it was just that space, again, creating that space to go, okay, Debby. You get as far as we know. One turn around the sun. Well, in our.

Lori Saitz:

Speaker:

Incarnation.

Debby Kevin:

Speaker:

Sure. Multiple turns. Yeah. In this incarnation. What do you want your legacy to be?

Lori Saitz:

Speaker:

Yeah, that's such a powerful question too, because most people don't ask themselves that. We go through the motions of doing the things that we just do every day without consciously thinking, What would I like my legacy to be?

Debby Kevin:

Speaker:

Yeah. There's a quote by Mary Oliver is what will you do with your one wild and precious life? And I remember reading that and thinking, We don't teach our children and we weren't taught to value this experience. And, you know, I there's a movie. I love movies, as you can probably tell. Joe versus the Volcano, where before he you know, Tom Hanks is all in gray. The places he work in is gray. Everything is gray. And then he goes on this grand adventure where everything is colorful and he can't fit back into that gray small life. And so many of us live our lives in that gray. Dull existence because our parents did it and our parents parents did it. And we don't recognize that. We can create anything we want to create.

Lori Saitz:

Speaker:

It doesn't have to be that way, that there is another way. That's what we don't often recognize is that there is another way where there could be another way. Right. And so, yes. So when you came back from Camino de Santiago, now you were in color. It's like the Wizard of Oz, too, right? Remember, it was half in black and white and half in color.

Debby Kevin:

Speaker:

Absolutely. When she got to Oz, everything was brilliant color. Yeah.

Lori Saitz:

Speaker:

Exactly. Cool. Oh, my gosh. I know. We could just keep talking. And yet there is somewhat a self-imposed time limit on this show. My last question, as always, is what is your hype song?

Debby Kevin:

Speaker:

Oh, my hype song is This Girl Is On Fire by Alicia Keys.

Lori Saitz:

Speaker:

Yeah. All right. So we got to ask.

Debby Kevin:

Speaker:

Go ahead and I'll have a I'll have a you can have a can I have a second one? You're fucking perfect by pink.

Lori Saitz:

Speaker:

Also awesome. Oh, my gosh. Those. Yes. We're putting links to both of those in the show notes. And then my last question before how can people get in touch with you is when you were on that on the the Camino de Santiago, is it silence or are you listening to music or stuff? Podcasts or whatever.

Debby Kevin:

Speaker:

I did listen to music one time because it was a super long day. I think it was a 24 mile day and we were at the very end and it just seemed like it was and I had hurt my knee. So at that point I put Earpods in and listened to music just to get me those last 5 or 6 miles. Most of the time, no, it's you meet people from all over the world on the path and you might start up a conversation. You might be talking with the people that you're traveling with. But mostly I would say I was quiet and I was introspective and I was thinking and I was listening and listening in a different way. So listening to the bird calls and listening to the rustle of the the leaves watching the bees flit in. And among all of the the grape, because we were in the Rioja region and they were it was harvest time. So there was just all kinds of activity. And so I think just being fully immersed in being present was what I really.

Lori Saitz:

Speaker:

Focused on full time meditation.

Debby Kevin:

Speaker:

It really was because the walking sticks create a pattern. And so you have that tick, tick, tick, tick, which is just a rhythm that you get into and it does take you away.

Lori Saitz:

Speaker:

Fabulous. All right. So now if someone wants to continue this conversation with you, how will they find you?

Debby Kevin:

Speaker:

That's a I love this. Thank you so much, first of all, for having me. And what a wonderful conversation. I've really enjoyed chatting with you. They can find me on the web on my website, which is Highlander Press, Books.com. Make sure you have the S on the end and then there's a link to contact me. I'm on LinkedIn. Deborah Kevin Highlander Press is there as well, and I'm on Instagram and Facebook, so cool.

Lori Saitz:

Speaker:

I will have links to all of that also in the show notes to make it really easy for people. Debby, thank you so much for joining me. I have really enjoyed today's conversation on Fine is a 4-Letter Word.

Debby Kevin:

Speaker:

Well, thank you so much for having me, Lori. And Fine is a 4-Letter Word. Let's not have fine experiences. We deserve more. I agreed.

Debby Kevin:

Speaker:

Lori Saitz: One of the questions it seems like we're always asking ourselves, regardless of the situation, is, is this the right thing? First, whatever choice you make is the right one from a spiritual perspective. There is no wrong choice. Secondly, this is why it's so important to get in touch with your inner voice. That's why the first key takeaway is introspection is key. Take time to deeply introspect and understand what you truly want from life. It's essential to step away from simply reacting to life's events and start actively shaping your path. Number two, it's okay to say no to things that do not align with your values or the life you would like to live. Saying yes to everything can lead to burnout and a life that's stuck at fine. Number three, trust your intuition. It's a powerful guide. Ask yourself, is this right for me? And listen for a response. When you trust yourself to take that next step, the path will open up in front of you. Number four, Regularly evaluate your physical and emotional possessions. If they no longer serve you, consider letting them go. This creates a sense of lightness and frees up space for new experiences and opportunities. Number five Be curious if there's a field or subject you're passionate about. Explore ways to learn more or get involved in it. And number six, embrace the colorful life. Don't settle for a mundane existence if it doesn't fulfill you. Recognize that you have the power to create a vibrant, meaningful life that aligns with your true self. Thanks for listening to Fine is a 4-Letter Word. If you've enjoyed the show, please follow and share it with a friend. Leave a review on Apple Podcasts or your favorite platform to help others discover it too. You can find links to my socials on my website Zen rabbit.com. And before you go, take a moment to reflect on what you're grateful for today. Remember, you have the power to create a life you love, and I'm proud of you. Thanks for joining me. Take care.

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