The Journey of the Unicorns — Maryl Petreccia

I’m sure I never told you about my very unusual summer trip to Petra, Jordan. Petra truly took my breath away! The Romans transformed this mini Grand Canyon into what is a top world heritage site, a true marvel! A bit of trivia…it’s said that Moses died on a cliff of Petra looking toward the promised land later called Israel, knowing, as the name implied, that what lay ahead for the Jews’ current and future generations would be their eternal struggle to be free.

The canyon is a very long crevice that the Romans discovered, conquered, and turned into the most spectacular community of that time. The Romans built aqueducts into the walls, created housing inside caves, constructed an amphitheater, established burial grounds, and even built a centralized City Hall.

We all choose our own mode of getting to where we want to go.

But a seemingly simple thing that captured my attention was how the locals, various family units of desert nomads, controlled the transportation system from the entry of Petra to its core. The modes of transportation were managed like taxi companies manage in cities, but rather than being sedans, their vehicles were horses, camels or buggies. The visitors chose their preferred mode of transportation to make their way into the center of Petra. Each mode of transportation gave a different experience. I personally walked. (There was no charge for that!) My mother went in a buggy. My father rode a camel. We all went our own way, but we traveled the same road, the same crevice to get to the core of Petra.

It’s uncanny how my daughter Helena and I seem to be continually walking the same parallel life path. Maybe I should call this story “The Plight of the Millennial and the Boomer: Parallel Universes, Parallel Paths-Same Journey, Different Age.” We have the same considerations, concerns and fears. We hope for the future, yearning to figure things out and to know things that we can’t know. We are both in transition, wanting to sort out our futures, wanting to “grow up,” yet resisting what that all means. We have so much skill and talent, but we are both feeling at a constant loss as to where and when to apply them! We laugh together, cry together, we together and we certainly don’t always know what to say. Sometimes we feel powerless to help each other.

The Unicorn Dilemma

I have deemed this situation “The Unicorn Dilemma.” It started when Helena was ten years old and we adopted a plush unicorn family, a mama unicorn and her baby to be exact. The four of us ventured forth through the years, me as a single, divorced mom who never wanted her daughter to see her struggle, and Helena as an only child struggling to navigate between her parents’ two houses, two personalities, and a constant back-and-forth with custody challenges. She and I both had our life-altering disruptions. We both went through a baptism by fire to come out on the other side and connect with who we are now.

In the most difficult moments we would sit on my bed, and hold the unicorns. The four of us would just be together. We think of the unicorn’s journey as all sparkles and glitter, but that is only the fairy tale. The journey I’m talking about is the real deal. It includes heartbreak, divorce, loss, change and not knowing how to keep our connection intact. On this journey we were constantly having to figure out how to come back together to each other after every transition that we endured as individuals and as a family. Helena and I continue on our unicorn journey; me with the Joy continuum and my daughter with her quest to fight for the restoration of our planet. She honors what we have and restores it so we all have a beautiful place to live called earth.

Forging the Path Ahead

I know I’m not the only one who is dealing with big transitions, big choices, and figuring out new directions. We’re all in this together, albeit in different places on the map, dealing with different obstacles on our particular paths. The coronavirus has not been the “great equalizer” that some people want to call it, but it has revealed so much about us. Some have been kinder, more thoughtful, and generous than ever. Others have given in to justified frustration and lost their patience, empathy, and tempers.

My only tip about how to forge the path of the unicorn journey is to hold true to what you value most. You need to know what matters to you and follow your joy, also discovering what it is that brings you joy in this new world. It takes time and contemplation, and it’s well worth the effort to re-craft your map to joy. You can reassess, realign, and rewrite where you want to go next. You don’t need to know how you will get there. It isn’t important to decide on the vehicle for your journey. You may travel by camel, horse, buggy, or on your own two feet, The unicorn journey has the same requirements of all of us.

Over the years, Helena and I have continued to carry the unicorns with us. We trade them on a regular basis; sometimes she’ll have the mama and sometimes she’ll have the baby and the same goes for me. This ritual keeps us grounded about what’s important. What matters is us being together, supporting each other no matter what happens. We know that we will come together and we will make it through whatever part of the journey is next to approach.

How about you?

Please share with me…what’s your unicorn story?? I’d love to hear it! Write it, audio, or video it. I’m guessing there are way more unicorns around than we think!?!

Originally published at on May 20, 2020.



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Maryl Petreccia

Maryl Petreccia, a Southern California Multipreneur, Solutions Specialist, and a High-Performance Joy Coach, #1 Best Selling Author of GPS to Joy.